The day had barely started yet her brain already stacked things in a mental to-do list. Go to the store. Return the blackened carrots. Buy lunch. Print materials for class. See the secretaries for exam scheduling.
So anxious she was to go home and eat, she didn’t want to take a big bulky cart as it’d only slow her down. She zipped through the aisles, checking her watch repeatedly. Cheese, yes. Bread, pickles. Frozen stuff, nope. Lunch, check. She stuffed the items into her canvas bag, careful not to squish anything.
Ready to checkout, she quickly scanned the registers for either the shortest line, or the line with the least amount of items to check out. Sometimes her luck was rotten, because the shortest line had the slowest customer or cashier, or they’d forgotten something, or or or… Sometimes, it was the opposite and no one was there. But today was a normal day, with a little waiting time.
For once, she paid by cash instead of card. Frustratingly, the cashier set her change on the belt rather than in her hand. Precious minutes wasted… But at least, it wasn’t raining and she was home in less than 10 minutes. After shedding off her coat and scarf and unzipping her ankle boots, she emptied her canvas bag before preparing lunch.
Bread, cheese, pickles, lunch. Cheese?
Confused, she pulled out her receipt and counted all her items. Eight. Why did she suddenly have nine!?
She realized that cheese –une bûche de chèvre, a particular favorite of hers – had probably been hidden by her secondary shopping bag. In all her rushing through the ‘now’ and worrying about the ‘later,’ she’d basically become a thief. Inadvertently, of course. But what could she do, return to the store after work and say “Hi, I realized I didn’t pay for that this morning, can I pay now?”
No, that would only get her weird glances and who knows how the employee (or worse, security!) would react. It was too late. All she could do to ease her guilt was savor the cheese. After all, we all know things we don’t pay for taste better, right?