I quickly flung the small box of pads in my cart, only my eyes glancing sideways at the selection. I rushed past the man that stood obviously perplexed in front of the vast array of feminine products. My cart was half full of groceries and I just wanted to be done.
“Excusa me? Can you ahhh help me?” he asked in broken English before I completely passed him. I was rushing more so as to not embarrass him in what must have been an awkward situation.
“Ohhh…of course,” I responded. ‘This poor guy’ I thought.
“Ahhh, yes, for my daughter. She needs.” he continued.
“Does she need these,” I asking pointing to a box of pads, or “these?” I continued pointing to a box of tampons.
His phone rang on face time and I was able to discern a girl’s voice on the other end speaking frantically.
“Oh no, she 12 years old,” he told me as he turned the phone to let his daughter see the options.
I choose a regular pad in plastic packaging that would be appropriate for a 12-year-old and handed it to him. “These are good,” I encouraged.
“Oh no, she say a box,” he was scratching his head now and his cheeks blushed. His daughter prompting him in the background.
I had never wanted to find a box of pads in my whole life. This father had been standing in a Market Basket aisle for what seemed like forever for his daughter.
We searched more together, the three of us. Suddenly, I was not in a rush anymore.
“You may want to try CVS. They have more of a selection.” I still waited by him in the aisle as he spoke to his daughter. I did not want to abandon the search, but it was obvious that the “box” was not in this selection.
He struggled to communicate with me, partly from embarrassment I would imagine. My heart was full of appreciation for the father he must be to her. Was he a single father? I thought of my students who had been raised by a single father and warm blood rushed to my chest.
“Here?” he asked motioning in the direction of CVS.
“Yes, right next door. I think you will find what she is looking for.” I smiled.
He thanked me but continued to stand in the aisle motionless. I slowly walked away, glancing back at him staring blankly at packages of pads.
I hope he found what she was looking for.