I went on a date with Daniel a few days ago. Dinner and the movies. I got dressed up nicely, put on make up, curled my hair. I was wearing bright pink lipstick and thought I looked very worldly, modern, normal. Just before I left the house Daniel called me asking to get something for him from the grocery store. I live much closer and it’s not a big deal for me to go there quick, so I went.
I felt good walking through the grocery store, looking forward to the night, and then I saw them at the check out.
Two of them.
Standing right in front of me in the line.
Their long skirts covering their ankles, their pale faces tired but content and meek, part of their hair covered. With them, two toddlers and a baby.
Two evangelical christian women.
My heart started beating faster. I had never seen them here. The city I live in isn’t that big. I looked around. All the other lines were much longer than the one I was in. I wanted to get out fast, get our table at the restaurant. I looked at the stuff they were buying. Healthy food, fresh vegetables and fruit, bread baking flour. I looked at the things I was buying. Ice cream – a spontaneous pick, I just felt like it. A bottle of my favourite white wine and a bottle of Sprite because I like to mix those two. A pack of cigarettes, Daniel smokes on occasion. A bag of frozen Paella because there wasn’t any left at Daniel’s place and that’s what I love to heat up when I’m there and hungry. I felt ashamed, somehow. I looked at my bright pink fingernails, matching my lipstick so well. I thought of my lush soft curly hair that I invested the last hour into. My tight black leggings with a huge oversized shirt going almost down to my knees, one of those that look like you stole it from your husband or boyfriend. I realized how I must look to them. Like somebody who has no idea of the bible or jesus or the fact that I’m all wrong, all wrong. I didn’t look any different from the other girls and women around us. I was one of them, never a christian. I stared at them with I can only imagine to be huge shocked eyes. One of them saw me stare, and smiled at me. A smile filled with joy, encouraging. I smiled back to the best of my abilities.
I kept looking at them. And I thought to myself: I know you. I know what you do, how you live. I was like you. I was that little baby girl. I know what you believe, and I know that at least one of your kids is going to be like me. And you will be ashamed of it.
Somehow I wished I could tell them what I really am. I wanted to explain myself to them somehow. Apologize for being what I am. But I didn’t. When they had packed their stuff into their linen bags, and I was trying to balance all of my groceries in my hands, they blinked at me, smiled and wished me a good evening. I smiled back and wished them the same.