I watched the crowd move away from the little old woman, and I moved away too, not far but too far enough to hear everything.
“Sky fairy,” the tall woman hissed holding up the leaflet the old woman had handed her. Then after waving the little foldable about, the woman sneering and red faced woman ripped it into shreds and stomped it into the floor tiles of the supermarket checkout lane. It had been God’s plan of salvation, like the old woman had given me too. Now it was a thousand pieces of tattered paper waiting for the broom.
The old woman just stood there eyes downward as the woman continued her rant. Others chiming in jeers of their own, called the old woman a Jesus freak, and a Bible thumper and more than one told her it was her, her God was to blame for the shape the world was in.
“Amen,” one of the onlookers cackled. I moved further away, not wanting be part of the scene unfolding right before my teenage eyes. I felt bad for the old woman but not bad enough to speak up for her. She meant no harm, it was only a piece of paper, and invitation. Still, I stood there and waited and watched as the crowd got the attention of the store’s manager.
“What seem’s to be the problem here?” the wiry balding man managed before the tall woman launched another tirade in which she assured him she would be contacting the head office about this to which she got another amen.
The cashier hurried but it did no good. The crowd only grew larger as the little old woman grew smaller and looked even frailer. She never said a word, she only listened.
“You and your sky fairy have no business telling me how to get to heaven, even if it really did exist, which it doesn’t,” adding, “Imagine,” as she touched her pointer finger too he temple and huffed out, “Duh.”
“I will see that this doesn’t happen again,” the manager assured the tall woman as he tossed the old woman’s groceries in a bag and guided her to the door. I lingered not wanting to be anywhere near the spectacle the old woman had become.
She never said a word and only nodded a hurtful not that she understood when the manager said she couldn’t shop there anymore.
I lingered and pretended to tie my shoes before heading outside myself and across the parking lot to where my grandmother waited eyes closed and saying a prayer.
This is a work of fiction but not for long.
-Edward Reed 2021