You Are My Friend

Every time I go to that one supermarket at the edge of town, the man in charge of the carriages shakes my hand.

I’m pretty sure his job is just to bring them back into the store but when he sees me he comes right over smiling. We have made friends, he and I, in spite of the language barrier. (He speaks two languages; I only speak one.)

“Ah you, my friend!” he called when he saw me yesterday morning as I left the store. “Ah, you are my very good friend!”

“I am your very good friend” I agreed as he commenced pushing my cart for me in the general direction of my car.

“You buy this greens?” he asked, pointing to a potted plant in the top shelf of the cart.

“Yes.” I said.

“How much moneys?”

“Five dollars,” I said.

“Very good so nice thanks to God,” he said, gesturing toward the heavens.

We reached my car but as I bent to help him  unload my bags into the trunk he held up his hand in a warding-off gesture.

“I he’p you!” he said. “You are my friend.”

“We are friends,” I agreed and so only reached only for the small houseplant we both liked so much. “I’ll just take this up front with me.”

“As well the ice cream!” he said, handing me my quart of Mocha Almond.

When we got done unloading he took my both hands, “If you need he’p any places, in the house, with clean, with any things, you call me, yes?”

“I will call you” I said.  We shook hands once more.

Then, instead of climbing into my well-packed car, I began walking across the parking lot towards the liquor store.

“You go?” he said looking confused.

“I go to buy some wine.”

“Ah!” he cried

“Ah!” I echoed.

“Next time I see you!” he called, waving gaily.

“See you next time!”  I called back, assuming in my vast American smugness that I could teach him by my own sterling example what the phrase really was.

But then I stopped short of that assumption because…. well, because maybe he meant it just the way he said it.

The next time he would see me, just like he does surely “see” me every single time I come to that parking lot. And how nice is that? Because how often do any of us get really seen in the course of our busy rush-rush lives?

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