Recently it must be said that I have been feeling sorry for myself because I had a cold. Yes, that’s all it was, a cold. It was at times difficult to function because I couldn’t breathe or see properly but, as with all things, I knew that it would pass. You see, I’ve had colds before and they have also passed. Anyway, this one day I was finding it particularly difficult to concentrate and I felt like I had a bit of a temperature but regardless I needed to get some groceries so I went to the supermarket and selected the few essentials that would keep us going for a few days.
I was minding my own business. I was in my own world. I was wallowing, quite happily, when a chain of events happened that altered my view of my situation.
I held the corner of the magazine in the tips of my fingers. I had seen it slipping off the conveyer belt as the purchases of the woman in from of me inched towards the cashier. I didn’t plan to catch it. I just did.
There was a split second between me catching sight of it and the catch. I moved quickly and precisely. Both the cashier and the shopper ahead of me turned with looks of wonder on their faces.
“Good catch!” the mystery woman with the bright blue eyes exclaimed. She smiled at me.
I shrugged and placed the magazine back on the belt.
The cashier turned to me and questioned, “Are your reflexes always that quick?”
I hesitated and mumbled a reply. I didn’t know. I just caught something that was falling. To me it was no big deal. But to them it was a matter of wonder and conversation. People were looking at me and smiling. I just wanted to get the few items of shopping and leave. Despite my reluctance to draw attention to this small feat – it was after all a magazine and not a baby that I caught – I spoke to the cashier as he was scanning my items. He was very friendly and wanted to talk to all his customers.
When I reached for my receipt and change I caught a glimpse of his name badge; I had never seen that name before: Awaab.
“That’s a name I’m not familiar with,” I said as I tried to pronounce it.
My efforts were greeted with another broad smile. “That’s right,” he grinned, “you said it right.”
“Where does your name originate?” I asked as I put my things away.
“The Koran.” His answer was short and succinct.
I pressed him for more information while the customer behind me was unloading his purchases from his basket.
“What does it mean?” I gently questioned as I could sense that he anticipated a lack of interest once he had mentioned a Muslim name. He was obviously reluctant to say more without some feeling safe.
The relief on his face was clear when he realised that I was genuinely interested.
“It means that means you remember God in good times ... and in bad,” he smiled.
“I like that,” I responded, “something to really remember. Thank you.”
With that I said goodbye and let the next customer pay for his goods. As I picked up my bag Awabb turned back to me and gave me the thumbs up sign.