Crack. Maggie sighed. The woman in front of her in the deli line was popping gum like she was in a speed-chewing contest.
Without thinking, Maggie took an involuntary step backward.
The woman immediately noticed. “What?” Offense dripped from her voice.
Maggie felt her cheeks begin to redden. “Nothing, ma’am.”
The stranger huffed and turned back around.
Finally the deli lady ambled over. “What’ll it be?”
“One pound of bologna and half a pound of the cheapest cheese you got,” the woman said over her gum.
A jolt of electricity penetrated Maggie’s heart. She hated bologna. Compassion stirred in her stomach.
“Would you like me to buy you some ham or something?” Maggie spat out before she could think twice about it.
The woman turned with a shocked look on her face.
“Uh-oh. Lord, what have I gotten myself into now?” Maggie prayed silently.
But no caustic words assaulted her. Instead, there was surprise and a bit of gratitude behind the woman’s eyes. Then the emotions on the woman’s face were quickly stored away. A sarcastic note was in her voice when she asked, “You think I’m starving?”
Warning bells began to sound in Maggie’s mind. She had to find some way to skirt that dangerous question.
She opted for the humorous. “I just hate bologna.” She attempted to crack a smile.
The stony expression on the woman’s face softened slightly. “So do I,” she said. “I’m just a little broke right now.”
The deli lady approached the counter to weigh the cheese.
“Add a little more,” Maggie said as calmly as she could. The deli lady was completely nonplussed as she obeyed.
The woman’s eyes glowed with awe and her mouth dropped open.
Feeling empowered by her speechlessness, Maggie added, “And forget about that bologna, make it ham.”
The woman seemed stunned as she closed her mouth and began popping her gum. A pang struck Maggie’s heart. Hadn’t anyone ever been kind to her before?
Then a strange thing passed over the stranger’s face.
“Wait a minute.” She looked Maggie up and down suspiciously. “Are you a church-going lady?”
“Why, yes. Yes, I am.”
“Are you going to pull out a Bible and beat me over the head with it?” the woman asked, backing away.
“Nope,” Maggie said matter-of-factly.
“Good.” The woman crossed her arms and swiveled to face the counter. Just when Maggie was beginning to think she was off the hook, the woman turned back, hands on her hips.
“Why?” she asked in an accusatory tone.
“Why what?” Maggie asked.
“Why would a high-class, religious girl like you talk to a white trash woman like me?”
Maggie looked deep into her eyes, silently praying for direction. “Because I’ve been hungry before.”
The woman looked surprised, then as if she understood. “Yeah, why can’t we ever just get full and be done with it?” She looked like she was about to turn back around so Maggie spoke quickly.
“Actually, I did get full. I’ll never hunger again.”
The woman’s expression was unreadable. Realization dawned.
“What weight-loss pill you on?” she asked, examining Maggie thoroughly as if to measure whether or not the “pill” was working.
Maggie laughed. “None. I’m not talking about physical hunger. I had a hunger in my soul but I’ve been filled. I was not only satisfied, I’ve been feasting ever since.”
When Maggie paid for the woman’s groceries, she teared up. Maggie had to hold the bag while she dried her eyes.
A seed of salvation was planted that day in that woman’s heart. And a seed of kindness was planted in Maggie’s.Copyright © by Rachelle Rea | 0 comments