Her name is Marlene. We first met about three years ago, in a supermarket. It’s one of those upscale places with over-priced organic produce, dairy products and meats, but also with an amazingly good selection of cheeses. I was the customer. She is a check out cashier.
Marlene’s accent sounded vaguely English, but as we began to chat she told me that she is from Malta. Marlene is the only Maltese person I’ve ever met. She lives in SRQ with her husband.
Her presence radiates with happiness. She has a ready smile which she is always glad to share. I’ll wait in line at her till even if other lines are empty, this for the sheer pleasure of seeing her.
There was a period when I thought that she had left the store. It turns out that she had tried her hand in the store’s kitchen. It was to my immense relief that she decided that the kitchen was no place for her, and she returned to the check-out.
I saw Marlene today, and waited in her line despite the “shipping order” which was being rung up for the customer in front of me.
We enjoyed as much “visiting” as was possible on a busy store day. Then she came out from her till, wished me a “Happy New Year” - and then hugged me.
That was a wonderful way in which to say good bye to 2009.