She was standing in front of me when we raced to the back of the store to get those drops and get out. I admit I took in the picture of her standing there and I was frustrated. This is going to take forever, I thought to myself.
She was barely taller than the counter and the exchange was a beautiful symphony of not English. Three plastic shoe boxes appeared and a stack of slips placed in each one. Oh man, I thought to myself. We’re never going to make it.
Three littles crowded around her, not a one higher than her waist. Their sniffles and coughs reverbrated through their little bodies. The littlest one kept reaching out just one finger to touch the toys hanging as temptations to all the pharmacy visiting kiddos.
The exchanges continued, as pleasantries, I could tell. This mom was straight up worn out. You could see it in the weight she carried in her own shoulders, yet her face shone and her voice just lilted through the air, as if she had not a care in the world.
The pharmacy tech pulled out plastic bag after plastic bag and collected what seemed enough bottles and boxes to medicate a small country or least build a respectable toy castle.
By this point, the hanging temptations got the best of the littles and they were sitting around her feet now rolling toy cars on the threadbare carpet. I began to wonder how many others stood in that spot wearing down that carpet. I watched her gather up her brood and bags and start the trek toward wherever they were going.
Drops in hand, we raced to get some coffee before racing to meet the ferry. My phone rang and I heard a panicked pharmacy tech explain I might have received someone else’s benefit card. I quickly check and recognize the name that rode across the space from the pharmacy tech’s mouth back in that store.
So back to the pharmacy and the mom coming from the other direction, walking quickly despite the weight of the boxes and bags and littles. A thank you from the tech and a relieved Gracias later, we were on our way.
My frustration had long since dissipated. Somewhere around that finger reaching out to spin the wheels on a toy car.