Sunday, October 27, 2013

Me and My Men (Part II)

To make a woman’s heart sing.

Growing up I liked being with boys, but didn't know if their flirty attention was something I could handle. So I went about being like them with them. I couldn't handle the girly giggles and their bitchy battles so I stayed away from them as well and never learned from girls how to be an attractive girl.

Big mistake, very big mistake.

 Now I was a very shy person and evaded befriending guys my age. Too young and I could be bossy and sisterly with them. Too old and I could be an obedient learner and be pampered as a kid myself.

Life felt better that way while socializing. Behave evasive and tomboyish …. No complications….

It was about a month since I discovered the spark that is called a sexual electrical flow. I was learning salsa and the instructor was showing a beautiful move when I felt a current pass through me and felt a tingling in my heart and dizzy in my head. An exquisite feeling which was very personal. I wasn't attracted to the dance instructor. He was a mere boy of 19 and I was quite a woman in the worldly sense at 21.

I had not known at the time what I felt. I was curious about it and did the most stupid mistake as a naive person- I asked him if he felt a wave. He accepted that he did but thereon he started being a bit oddly rude with me. I wondered why it was so. I realized that he had a girlfriend who was an instructor as well. I think he must have felt guilty. I didn't know what to make of it. I went to my sisters and asked her. She was amused and assured me that I have bloomed; a late bloomer but I got it after all. Congratulations of having your first physical feeling of attraction. I was happy I felt what was supposed to be felt…… relived………..

I fizzed out of the dance class as it was no more happening for me as the instructor felt a thing against or rather felt a thing for me…

Sooner I found new joy in going for early morning walks with a new found girlfriend. I liked her company as we had lots to talk all the girly talks. Though a few years older I could relate with her. I had missed on many girly stuff while growing up trying hard to evade boy’s attention and being stupidly tomboyish. She invited me to meet her friends from college in the mall. That’s where I met Aayan, a lanky confident young guy who loved to please with his sweet gestures and poetic language.

He was such a joker, charming every body’s wits out. I didn’t realize that he was eyeing me. He started sending me beautiful messages every day. They were poetic and romantic. They influenced me to write my own poems in reply. This is how romance began between us. Most pure and without expectations. I discovered jealously for the first time, when I saw that he would call up most of his friends as a ritual every evening. Until then I thought I was an exclusive person with an exclusive place in his time schedule. When I complained, he explained that he called all his friends daily and had their regular conversations as usual but he reserved the last for me. He said when he was done with every chore and ritual. He would call me in peace and sleep listening to my voice. That felt so special. We spoke through the night sometimes about anything and everything in particular. And in the day we exchanged romantic poems. A beautiful flow set in. a habit cultivated of communication and being in touch. This was for me ‘living in the moment’. We had an emotional relationship that was cosy and fine the way it was.

Both of us didn’t want to complicate things. We had not met after our first introductory meeting and we didn’t mind it either. He was to come to town to meet his friends sometimes and told me he didn’t want to meet me in a group. He wouldn’t stop himself from being obvious about me. But a day came when we both couldn’t stop each other from meeting. We were at a party of common friends. The day that came, brought such pent up feelings that bombarded me with sexual attraction. I was amazed at my crude feelings. His mere gaze on me sent ripples through my veins. I wanted to be near him and it was a torture trying to stop myself. That night when we did speak with each other on phone, both of us could not stop from expressing our feelings of wanting to meet. Things would get complicated if we did. I knew for sure what would transpire between us if we did. But I didn’t want to think or care. The agony to stay away was getting too much to handle. We decided to meet when my parents were to go to meet my aunt out of town. I would be home alone for two days and could invite aayan over for lunch after my parents left.

The day he came to meet me was kind of made in heaven. I made him sneak into my house far from my neighbours curiosity. The moment I closed the door, we were in each other’s arms caressing and kissing like it was natural to do so. It was like music. Where the silence between the sounds made the rhythm. Interplay of desperate souls and a free flow of moments. It was more of an ecstasy, beyond sensuousness. A dance of the hands moving with sounds of music through the lips. We were both virgins and so we did not want to get into something that might complicate things. It was hard for me to detach myself from his embrace. We had lunch together and sat cozily chatting and watching a movie. When he left I was too esthetic to think anything. My body, mind and soul were a pulsating rhyme. I knew now what it meant to be a woman who was desirous. This was the first kiss that converted me.

We did not speak with each other but sent casual messages the next day. That evening I waited for his call. I never called him by myself since I had known him. It was unlikely of him to be out of touch. He was a person always in constant contact with his friends and I wondered why he hadn’t called. I slept off thinking of things I wasn’t sure would be true about him. His mobile was switched off for more than a week now and I couldn’t take the suspense anymore. I asked our common friends if they heard from him. They too were annoyed and surprised that he was incommunicado. I felt relief that he did not ditch me personally. I went through a range of thoughts about our affair and realized that it was picture perfect. Like a vacation romance and indeed it was. It was over without any mishap. I was only suffering the after effects of missing that one person with whom I was habituated to sharing my daily thoughts and talks. I missed that terribly. I resolved soon to get over it. Life went on with my explorations and new learning.

I was getting warmed up to the fact that men looked at me. Most of them I observed stared at me appreciatively. I was happily hopping with joy that guys gave attention to me until Sambhu busted the bubble for me. Prams most men will look at anything that is a “WOMAN” and you are one of those species. It’s not about you, it’s about boobs and you have them and some certain things. Cheese! I get that…………….

I decided to go for a much deserved break in the middle of the monsoon. To be near nature what best way than to go for a trek. I prefer to be by myself. Kind of like a meditating lone traveler on such travels. I sort my thoughts, reflect upon things about my past and resolve my moves for the future. I sat in the 25 seater van by myself which was parked at the designated site. I was the first to arrive so I took the first seat closer to the door besides the window. It was quite windy and cold so I snuggled myself and drifted into my thoughts.

Slowly the van was getting filled up and I was maneuvered into introducing myself and ended up casually chatting with two guys. One of them sat besides me and I went back to my cocoon. I could feel the next person sleep into a drunken slumber tired from his days work. I would have minded the body contact of a man but it was too cold to complain and I was not in any mood to shift and feel the chill that was enveloping us. I had no plans to converse or socialize as I woke up from my slumber in the morning. When our coach stopped for our first break the guide nudged us to get down and have our breakfast before we entered the forest reserve. I got out and sat on a bench furthest in the small makeshift eatery. I was surprised when a fair bald guy came and sat in front of me. He asked me if he could take the vacant seat. As soon as our breakfast arrived he began his efforts to converse with me casually. I discovered he was a very energetic guy with a lot of excitement about life. He was in India for about 2 weeks for work and he was making the most of it. I didn’t ask him much about anything and spoke when spoken to. It felt good talking with him and being with him on the breakfast table. I realized that some of the trek mates were wondering what was transpiring between us. We went about our conversation concerning the history and geography and culture of my country. When all of us were done with breakfast, we were briefed about the rules, regulations and instructions to be followed through our journey along with the itinerary of our trip.

As I saw him began chatting with the others in the group with the same friendliness as he had for me, I felt a twang of jealousy. There was a bit of possessiveness towards him for no apparent reason. Somehow I wasn’t convinced the way I was feeling. I wanted to be the one who would tell him things about India so that he would be only with me. Crazy me! He wasn’t an exclusive friend of mine but a mere acquaintance. I shook myself off these private feelings as we started our walk. It started raining within a few minutes and we all got into a friendly banter teasing each other along our walk. Felt amazingly comfortable as a group out to have fun. I let go of thoughts as we proceeded on our way and mingled into the group. I saw him talking to every person in the groups and befriending them. I too began enjoying the nature trail around me, taking photographs and getting to know my fellow travelers.

An hour into our walk, Matt came by me as he chatted away with a fellow traveler. I didn’t realize that he was actually being with me rather than with the other person. Though he didn’t talk to me I felt instinctively that he was having conversations with someone near me so that he could walk besides me on the trail. I glanced at him time to time and in return he glanced back with a sweet smile while he spoke to others. I found he was more Indian than anyone of us on the trek. He was casual, down to earth, friendly and talkative with an expression of positive expectations. During the entire walk I kept my own pace and speed. Matt kept on being with me but was good at not being obvious to others. I felt like a flower and him as a humming bee that kept on coming back to me. I soon settled in the fact that there was attraction between us. Felt something nice and beautiful existed between us. I was neither anxious nor jealous. Felt a sense of calm in the fact that he liked me and wanted to be around me. I got a sense of security around him. It didn’t matter to whom he spoke or for the length of time he was away from me. I got a funny feeling as if we are a married couple for ages and were comfortable and secured in our relationship. I didn’t know why within a few hours of meeting him I felt such strong feeling and had such calming thoughts to feed them. We reached our camp and got into frenzy for getting warm and out of our drenched clothes. I was almost shivering. I made myself comfortable on a wooden sofa in the patio of the farm house that was to be our base for the night. . He was loitering around me the whole time as I was settling myself in the patio. Joked around and played with his camera asking everyone to pose. I borrowed a blanket from the host to wrap myself and deciding not to budge from my seat until I warmed up. He came besides me and sat for a while making efforts to tuck me into my warmth. I felt really warm with his gesture. Some of the crazy people of our group decided to go for a dip in a nearby pond which was overflowing. I merrily declined. Matt was joining them so tried to convince me to join. I didn’t have the energy to get wet and cold again. He didn’t push me and left me with a lingering look behind saying he won’t be gone long.

The small roofed house had a modest patio with a plain mud ground before it which was fenced with hibiscus plants. The red, yellow and white flower fence looked beautiful against the backdrop of the coffee plantation and the rainy sky. The house was a beautiful old red roofed Indian farm house. There was an attic which spread across the ceiling of the entire house making it very big a space to move around, though one had to bend at bit as it lacked height. The kitchen was at the back of the house with a mud stove that used wood as fuel. One had to go a few feet away from the house into the open to access a bathroom and a toilet. The host was very kind to such a big group which had infested the entire house. Our group had spread its clutter of drying clothes, wet backpacks, shoes and drying socks. After about two hours as the sun was setting beyond sight, the group that had gone for a dip in the pit arrived howling like drunken hooligans and gay from their esthetic experience.

Matt smiled at me like a kid beaming from a joyride back home. He rushed into the house to change. There was absolute commotion around and I just sat in one place enjoying every bit of it. For the evening dinner the group had to heat ready-to-eat meal along with dried up chapatti to be heated to have with it. The trek leader asked me to help him with the preparation of the meal so I got up from my slumber and went into the dimly lit kitchen. I smiled at the host’s wife and sat comfortably in front of the mud stove as if I belonged there. I didn’t know the local language so the trek leader helped as we opened packets to be heated and the chapati’s to be roasted on an iron flat pan. Someone from the group asked if we could get some fresh rice to eat along with the meal we have. The sweet lady of the house was only too eager to oblige and made way to cook for 20 odd people. Matt kept on meddling with my work by fussing around and taking packets out of my hand to cut. We both knew he was pestering me with his silly behavior just so that he could be near me.

Suddenly I wanted him to hug me as I went about my work. It was a desperate desire, just to feel his warmth envelop around me in the warm crowded kitchen. I stopped my thoughts short, scolding him to go away and help the others. As I went about heating the chapatti besides the rice cooker I found it rather amusing how two people came together and instantly felt so intimate. There was an invisible thread that connected us in those few minutes of being so together. It was me who was feeling like a bee attracted to Matt. I wanted to be as close as possible to him, near him, around him. When the dinner was being served I excused myself and made a plate for myself and moved aside from the gathering to sit on a chair. Matt came and stood next to me, he was almost covering me up with his frame away from everyone in the room. He was relishing his meal and had brought along with him a spoonful of pickle from the kitchen. He winked at me as he deposited the pungent pickle into my rice. I wanted him to feed me. Good god lord I am going crazy here. I want to be with him and I want to run away from him at the same instant. I didn’t know if he realized what effects he was having on me. This was crazy. He had a lean and tall amazing body and he wasn’t even bothered to be aware of how he was affecting me. I wanted to feel his heart on my palm. I was not feeling sexually tonight, just a feeling of cozy intimacy. I wanted to sit and chat up with the others after dinner but was too tired and cold from being drenched the whole day. The girls had to sleep in a small stuffy room and so I arranged my sleeping bag just outside it so that I didn’t have to suffer the stuffiness. All the men had to sleep in the attic and I was curious to know how they had arranged their sleeping bags. So I climbed into the attic when Matt stayed down talking to the others. I was jealous of their sleeping arrangement as the attic was spacious and the men could spread themselves to sleep. Matt called me down the attic and teased me about the luxuries of men in the world. He walked me out into the patio in the darkness of the night and sat beside me on the sofa. We spoke about everything inconsequential. Just enjoying a private moment in space and relaxing in each other’s company. It was very cold and we huddled into a blanket close each other as if we did this often. I felt a sense of de-ja-vu. It certainly felt like we were a couple from another time. We had the secured comfort of being one. There was no charged up sexuality between us and it was not wanted either. The coziness was intoxicating enough. The trek leader came out after about an hour and asked us to retire as we had an early start the next day. We got up and went to our sleeping space without complain and again Matt smiled his sweet smile as he went away.

I slept instantly and when we woke up the next day I was not consumed with the existence of Matt. We were to visit a waterfall on our way back and we freaked out like crazy party animals all the way back. When we were dropped off at our destination after the trip I didn’t want this experience to end. I wanted the moments of the joy I felt to linger so when I was asked to join the boys for a drink and dinner I merrily agreed. We spoke about life in general as a group and for the first time in 2 days I was engaging myself completely with the talks of this small group at the table drinking their drinks. After dinner Matt took it upon himself to drop me home after our dinner. As we sat in the cab Matt told me that he was to be busy with work the week to follow and he would be leaving for home after the next weekend. I didn’t know what to say or feel because I knew I was not in a fantasy and he was someone I would never meet again. He said simply that he liked me a lot and enjoyed every moment of the trek because of me. As my home neared he took my phone number and promised me that he would call on me and try to meet me before he left. It surprised me when he smiled the sweetest smile and he touched my cheeks as if I was a cute little child when I was about to get out of the cab. I felt my heart melt at that moment and I turned looking into his eyes with all my openness I had in me. He smiled at me and opened his hands for a hug. I didn’t think twice before I leaned forward to be in his warm embrace. We both knew that we had something special and it transcend time and sense. Time stood still as I moved away out of the cab and bid him farewell. As his cab moved and I walked towards my house I knew that we had to meet and it had to be this way. My heart was beating a rhythm. I knew the song it sang from another lifetime. Though I could not hum the rhyme, it was making me sway and dance as I walked into the night. It was overwhelming to know that I was not alone in the special experience I had this weekend. I knew that Matt too shared every bit of the feeling I had and that was enough for a lifetime to treasure within my heart. It didn’t matter if we met again before he left or that we kept in touch afterwards. It mattered that we met and we connected. That was all that mattered.

 It mattered to have made a woman’s heart sing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Me and my men (Part I)

I have a special relationship with men and this is a write-up in celebration to such wonderful connections.

My first connection being with my father.
My father has been the most influential figure of my early years and an unseen bond was forged since then. Presently, there is not much of a conversation or connect with him but I strongly believe that I can talk things through to him for the most important aspects in my life, though with certain levels of inhibitions. But I owe it to him to a certain level for what I am today. His integrity, honesty, straightforwardness, spiritual affinity and of course some of his negative traits too have been inherited by me.

My first friend was Pritam- the sweet memories I hold of him is of a dirty face and a perennial leaky nose and a cold induced voice. He was my dearest childhood friend, I remember him from my age of two till we left for another residence in a different town at the age of five. I used to spend my afternoons with him roaming the ally of our chawl (small houses built in rows). We used to go to the nearby well and stare at the water below to have a glimpse of the turtle that resided there or watch the brick workers as they made bricks out of red mud. Or play with his baby sister as their mother went shopping. I can never forget him till the day I die, hope he remembers me.

When we shifted our residence (I still live in the same place for the past 26 years) and as I went to primary school, I made friends with anyone who sat near my seat. As I was an introvert and didn’t talk much except in my mind, my friendships remained with them only for that current year. We have a few boys in our own building, with them I played but didn’t really have any close bonds.

College wasn’t any different- I was always a stickler for one to one friendship rather than to be a part of a group. That is a reason why it was difficult to belong anywhere in the social structure around me. I remained independent and a self made loner throughout my early social life due to this. I made few guy friends in collage but nothing significant except to spend time and talk about studies our career future our frustrations and the general girlfriend issues they had. As I never had a boyfriend, all the agonies of my friends became a part of my job profile as a confidant, consoler and a counselor, turning me into an agony aunt for ever. But this too had a upside. I got to know men some more as they shared their seceret inhibitions and venrabilities.

My work place social scenario was similar to my collage days and my current profession as a preschool teacher has very bleak chances of me socializing with the opposite sex as all my colleagues are women.

I used to pride myself for being branded- "a guys best pal, being one of them, as good as a guy" and  I always ended up exhibiting my machoiestic side of personality just to keep the image going. But something changed suddenly one day. Two years back, we had a teacher’s picnic in the first week of October to a water park. Will talk about it in the second part

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In loving memory of the dead, I shed a tear for the living

I few days back I got a mail from my dad's friend's son—he was trying to contact us desperately as they did not have our present contact number. He had a sad news to convey- his mother had died two months back, the same time my dad was hospitalized for an angioplasty after a heart attack.

We went visiting the recent widower as soon as we could. He sat at his desk in his office when we met him. He looked fragile, ready to break into pieces but still hanging on to something. He started talking about how his wife was unwell since the beginning of the year and how guilty he felt for not doing his best to save her. He felt anger sometimes for her denial to get treatment as if she wanted nothing else but to die. As he spoke, his emotional waves swayed him from the past to the present and almost consuming him in an abyss of the unknown future. The wast loneliness that awaits him without her. He spoke about how she lived her life on her own terms, being stubborn and getting her own way even if it hurt her the most. And how it could have been better if they had a chance to live together some more. Now every day seemed a heavy load to be dragged on to its end.

We went to the grave where she lay in peace. My eyes started to water. I understood that those tears were not for the woman laying in her grave but for the man who stood staring at the grave with such endearment as if she was there, regretting his missed chances to live a fulfilling life with her when she was alive.

Hug someone you love and
Tell them how much you care
Cause when they are gone,
No matter how loud you shout and cry
They wont hear you or come back

Monday, October 26, 2009

Words from thy soul

I blew a kiss to the moon
As a safe keep, for giving it to you
when you need it the most
On a cold and lonely night

Dream away your hearts desire
I wont come in your way
Cause I know its just a dream
It will perish with the awakening of the day
but I am here, A reality-The one who will stay

Eyes are not near enough to read
Heart is too deep inside to feel
A voice is all I can hear
That's more than enough for me to Heal

I was to give token of love
For the times we shared
And for the times to come
I spent days wondering what to give
Wondering if you'd like it for sure
Then I thought to myself
Love is the token, a gift by itself
So here I give, my love to you
With my open heart and my open soul

First came holding, with hugs to test
Then came kissing, with caresses at its best
Next came the loving,
With a longing for the rest

I was wondering, what would I want
When I am tired of giving
And my strength has all but gone
When my heart is weak and open to wounds
Will I get some place to rest and be renewed
Then I found
A trusted hug is all I just want
To reach out and feel warm

Summer wishes, monsoon dreams
Winter desires and springtime feelings
These all I have in me
So tell me! what you seek within me

Two cushions and a mattress.

Every woman who loves her body- please read on.

Since I was growing up, my very conscious mom came down heavily upon me for being fat. She still compares me to every other girl a decade younger to me. Come on mom, I am in my 3rd decade and can’t be compared to a nymph in her 20’s.
I call myself lean except, well! Heavily endowed on my chest and have a cute rounded potbelly.

I never understood the entire ruckus about having an hour glass figure. I loved my body as it was and have been true to my body up to this date. Every person in the family wanted me to be discontented with my imperfect body so that I could feel ashamed and scaled down to be presentable to a future prospective groom and I couldn't relent on loving myself.

Let me tell you the stories that make me love my imperfections.

Mistaken to be Mommy!
A few years ago we went visiting a relative who just had a baby. Since I love those little angels, I was eager to take it in my arms and closer to my heartbeat. It’s nice to hear their fast beat against your slower rhythm. After a while the baby felt quite drowsy listening to our hearts and so I started lowering the baby on my lap.

Suddenly, to every ones surprise the baby reached out towards my chest in persuit of its food. All the women around me looked at my big asset and started laughing.

They expected me to be embarrassed but I wondered what was so amusing. I felt like a million bucks because the baby thought I was its mother. I can’t express the feeling of joy and a momentary feeling of being a mother that incident brought forth. All the mothers with babies can vouch on how I felt. (p.s- usually very young infants can identify their real mothers through the scent of their mother)

Two cushions and a mattress !!
I have three girl cousins who are two and a half decades younger than me and also a niece who is a toddler.

Once at lunch time at my uncle’s place, I was holding my infant cousin on my bosom. She was sleepy and everyone else was still having their meal. As I was adjusting my infant cousin on my bosom, I remembered Siddhu’s daddy.

Siddhu’s daddy was a dark skinned, bald, short and stout man who usually lazed on a netted rope cot outside his house on the patio. He always used to be shirtless and wore a checkered cotton loin cloth called a “Lungi” around his waist (mostly worn by south Indian men as it’s extremely hot in south India throughout the year). His hairy potbelly moved up and down with the rhythm of his heart beat as he snored. I felt like giggling whenever I saw it.

As a preschooler, I have a faint memory of my father’s friend whom we visited on many summer Sunday’s. We called him Siddhu’s daddy, who lived in a small wilderness surrounded with tall trees in the suburbs. I remember walking towards the house through the wild undergrowth's with the sun rays beaming down in patterns between the tall trees. It was an adventurous experience for a child who lived in the concrete jungle in one of the most populated cities of the world- Bombay. The memories of those short walks are still alive in me.

His belly was an object of awe. But somehow a comforting feeling always surrounded me. Funnily! His memory always conjured up a feeling that I am sitting on his belly to have a rocker joyride. Hahahahahaah

I told my dad about it once when I remembered him. Dad later told us that Siddhu’s daddy used to lay us on his belly as infants and rock us to sleep while our parents and his family ate lunch in the house.

Aaaahhh!!!! Sweet childhood memories!!!

As the memory consumed me I wanted to lay down on the bed and sleep. But I had a baby in my arms. I adjusted her by placing her on my left bosom so that she could hear my heartbeat to sleep and snuggle my arms around her body which lay warm on my round belly so that I could sleep along with the baby comfortable and secure on top of me.

Suddenly my mom looked at us and with an amused warm look joked about me being a ready and portable cushions and a mattress for all the babies to sleep on. I chuckled and looked down at the sweet sleepy head and kissed it, feeling proud of my assets.

I have since, lent these cushions and a cozy round mattress for quite a few little angels to snuggle into their fairyland sleep and when they grow up, I hope they feel the same way as I feel about Siddhu’s daddy.

Potbelly to the rescue!!
Now this is a wacky one- I usually travel by public transport bus to the school where I work. Usually the bus is crowed and it’s a jumpy joyride of sharp turns, illegal overtakes, potholes, bumps and speed breakers. The ticket conductor has a ticket box hanging from one shoulder and the money bag on the other shoulder. Usually it accidentally hits every commuter’s butt or belly as they try to squeeze their way to the front or to a place that can stand without getting squashed to pulp. And as a gesture of decency every man tries not to touch any women commuter.

Once as I was traveling in the bus, I stood in front of the ticket conductor and gave him the change for my ticket. Suddenly as he was tendering me the ticket from his ticket box, I saw him looking at my stomach. He smiled his sweetest smile, as he gave me the ticket asked me to move near the front seats. He came along and requested a seated young man to give me his seat. The young man was peeved but did as asked. I was surprised at such a gesture and didn’t quite understand why this was happenings.

As I lay my purse on my lap I saw my tummy and suddenly it struck me that it was a bit bloated due water retention before the arrival of my menses.

Oh my good lord! God! The man thought I was pregnant. I looked at my belly again and chuckled inwards thinking about my good fortunes to be escorted to a seat in a crowded bus. Oh! I felt really good. My potbelly came to my rescue.

Another incident to mention- The shopping mall had a mega sale and I visited it in the evening when it was most crowded. I bought a much needed mug and that was the only item in hand as I stood in queue at the cash counters.

Since I was out the entire evening and had not answered the natures call, my tummy had bloated and I was desperate to relieve. I had 3 customers ahead of me now. Leaning against the counter I desperately requested the cashier to bill my mug as I had an emergency. I held my belly instinctively hoping my bladder wouldn’t burst. Suddenly the young couple in front of me saw my gesture and my belly which was almost on top of the counter. I felt a sense of premonition; I guessed that they thought I was pregnant. They looked at each other and requested me to jump the line. I went along with the charade and didn’t say anything. As I left thanking the cashier I smiled thanks to the couple who beamed at me with understanding. Once again my potbelly rescued me.