I want to share my observations on inspiration this morning. It’s a word that occupies my mind quite often because I am always in search of it. What writer isn’t?
Inspiration comes from inside though generally stems from an outside stimulus – a glance, a full-on look, a snippet of conversation, a smell, a color, a laugh, a voice, a single word. Obviously, the list is endless, and I don’t intend to make observations about every inspiration I’ve ever had. “Whew!” says the reader.
I’m going to focus on one place and one group. . .
One of my favorite places to observe the interactions of people is at the grocery store. It’s a place I – we – all visit quite frequently. Perhaps you know the name of all the people who work at your local market or have never bothered to learn them. Either way, they are an interesting and dynamic group.
The store I frequent is rather small which lends itself as a perfect environment to observe and ‘lurk.’ Here is one of my most recent studies. Forgive the commentary:
Standing in line behind two men purchasing sandwiches and salads from the deli, I notice one of them staring at the cashier with enamored eyes. He has sandy-colored hair, is closer to tall than average height, and has a trim form – from what I can tell through his work shirt.
The cashier is a very pretty young woman Her name escapes me at the moment, not that I would use it. We’ll call her Angela. She has long, light brown hair, falling below her waist, and she always wears it loose. She also has large brown eyes, friendly and warm.
To this young man, she is a vision. My impression is he’s never been in this particular grocery store, and this is his first sight of her. His eyes never leave her face as she rings up his purchases.
Angela, diligent in her duties, is unaware of this special attention she is receiving. I cannot hide my smile as I watch the scene unfold.
“That’ll be $6.43,” she says – or whatever the price really is. She still does not look at him, merely glances up when she tells him the total.
The enamored young man hears her voice but does not comprehend the words. He grins because she has spoken to him. Did she just ask him his name?
“What?” he asks on a gulp. I kid you not. He really does gulp.
Angela repeats the total for his purchases. There is a flash of disappointment in the young man’s expression because she hasn’t said something more inviting. Angela waits patiently as the young man takes his wallet out, a slight look of boredom on her face. How many people has she rung up today?
My smile is wider now, and I want to laugh. I am amused but also feel sorry for the young man who seems to be experiencing ‘love at first sight.’
He hands her a bill, hoping she will speak to him again. He wants to hear her voice. It’s as palpable as the feelings he is shooting at her. I can’t hear it, but I am sure his heart is pounding.
Angela completes the transaction, hands him the change with a professional and obligatory smile. “Have a nice day,” she says without more than a cursory glance in his direction.
He stands in place for a moment longer. Their relationship is over, and it’s time to move on, but he can’t. At this point, I could be standing naked behind him, and he wouldn’t notice. He has eyes only for Angela.
When her attention shifts to me, he moves away, and I take his place. She recognizes me as a regular and gives me a friendly smile and “hello.”
As she rings up my purchases, I look over my shoulder. He is still there, standing between the exit and her register. His friend has forgotten his utensils at the deli and tells him, “I’ll be right back.”
Enamored man nods, but he doesn’t hear a word his friend says. He’s happy to stand a little longer in her presence – to stare. And he is staring. I crack a wider smile and am no longer able to hold my tongue.
“You have an admirer,” I say.
Angela’s head jerks up. Her blank face from her mundane duty sparks life. “Excuse me?” She’s not sure she heard me correctly.
I repeat the statement and use my eyes to reveal the identity of her admirer.
She looks in his direction and sees him for the first time. I turn my head with her. He’s a good-looking lad, but his friend has returned with his utensils and is tapping him on the shoulder to indicate he’s ready to leave.
“The bald one?” she whispers to me like we’re old girlfriends, obviously hoping the answer is no.
I chuckle. “No, the younger one,” I say as I turn back to her. With a little sparkle in her eye, Angela is even prettier.
Enamored young man is dragged off. Bald man is hungry.
Angela is smiling with genuine happiness now, and her face is bright. The groceries on the conveyor belt are generic objects – probably always were, but she has a new identity – the object of someone’s affections.
Her eyes shift back and forth between her duty and the young man as he leaves the store. I think she is wondering why she didn’t notice him.
“You should throw him a bone,” I tease her.
Angela laughs and shakes her head. It is enough for her that someone noticed and thought she was worth a stare. She is reminded of her beauty.
My part in the story is over, but I know I am indirectly responsible for her elation and hope it lasts the rest of the day. I leave the store, happy to have been a small part and to have been inspired.