It happened between Rocky Road and Orange Sherbert . . . my most memorable counseling opportunity. It happened this way.
I set up office where she corners me beside frozen desserts. Her litany of pain is familiar: the bad hip, high blood pressure, “sugar.” Today there is a new one, the one that has been hiding behind facades of facile reasons. “They fired me last week.” Her eyes brim, tears overflowing onto frozen packages of pie-crusts, fruit, cakes, which soon are swimming in briny sorrow.
Having learned to listen, saying nothing, I stand there while she enlarges the litany of injustices. Pizzas and thawing raspberries, floating in her tears, rise to the edge of the bin. Biscuits and pies spill over into aisles, as shopping carts edge through, their controllers oblivious, seeking the 20% off items for the week.
An hour later she winds down, blows her nose into the napkin she had tucked in her pocket, sighs and maneuvers her cart in and out of floating groceries as stock boys mop and shovel packages back into the bins filled with near-frozen salt-laden pools of tears.
As she moves away, I think of all injustices – of centuries, millenia, of stifled, oppressed victims. My thoughts take form and crowd the supermarket aisles. Buyers and clerks cannot pass through. We are all blocked, and a crushing force of old wrongs begins to pour from the shoppers. We fall to our knees in grief and anger, our despair alive in songs of lament. The wail creeps through openings in offices and check-out counters, pours through automatic doors into town. Memorable moment. Unprecedented.