I wanted to buy sausages. Hotdogs. Frankfurters. Whatever they call it, I don’t really know the difference, as long as it was delicious and spicy. But it was hard deciding which brand to choose. I was standing in the frozen foods section of the supermarket examining pack after packet of sausages, looking for something on the wrapping that assured me that the long shafts of ground meat were to my special taste. As much as I liked sausages, I had had a rather unsavoury experience buying them for myself. There were several packs of barely touched franks and hotdogs in my fridge at home, which I had bought with so much gastronomic anticipation, only to spit it out after the first bite because it was too spicy, abominably spicy. In the end, after much trial and error, I stumbled upon an acceptable Polish brand, which I stuck to safely. This evening at the supermarket however, I wanted to try something different, because it felt unjust to stick to one type in the midst of so much variety.
While I was hunched over the freezer in confusion, a young couple sauntered to the freezer beside me. To call the lady beautiful alone would not be enough. She was beautiful, pretty and gorgeous, lissom and elegant. Her husband didn’t have any noticeable striking good looks, like his wife, I guess she married him just for his good heart. But together, they were lovely; holding hands and talking casually, they seemed completely at ease and relaxed with each other. They peered into the freezer for a while, then the man turned and began to examine rows of fruit juice in the refrigerators by the wall. He wanted orange juice, and like me, he wasn’t sure which brand he should get. Unlike me, he had someone to assist him in choosing. I had stopped what I was doing and looking unashamedly at them, admiring, envying, enamoured. At that moment I pitied myself a great deal, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had a wife like that too, to shop sausages with. She would know, I was sure, the best brand to buy. She would relieve me from the dreary mental effort of guessing, and above all, she would make this normally mundane activity an intimate pleasure shared by two of us. They suddenly laughed over something, the wife nudged the husband on the shoulder, and he laughed a little louder and gently grabbed her by the waist. They condescended to spare a glance at me, then turned back to picking packs of juice. I returned my attention to the freezer, a little hurt. They were too absorbed in their mutual enjoyment to even greet me. I shook my head, picked up my regular brand of sausages and began walking towards the counter.
Husband and wife followed me to the counter, too. And they continuously flaunted their affection in my face. He would touch her hair now, then she would brush off imaginary dust off his shoulder. I was tempted to roll my eyes; maybe I did even, I was sure I sighed aloud in irritation. She pointed at the chocolate bars at the counter and they both bent down to study it as if it was anything but regular chocolate bars. They were getting on my nerves now, I began to think they were deliberately doing this to infuriate me. Okay, that’s absurd, I know. But everything they did just highlighted my sorry solitary status. They made my bachelorhood, which I was very proud of, feel sinful. I was relieved when the cashier attended to me and I stalked out of the supermarket. On the drive home, I couldn’t take my mind off them, or ignore the fact that I was going to a lonely house, and that that situation was unlikely to change for a while.
But then, I was grateful, too. In observing them, I had learnt something, something I looked forward to enjoying in my own marriage. Soon.