The Uncovered Heart of Lady Tatoo

“Bronze Susan”
Photo by Sherri Woodbridge

Six women and two men. Two of the women are in wheelchairs. One is pushing a shopping cart while struggling to push her wheelchair at the same time.

The other one of the two women in wheelchairs finishes up with her shopping and makes for the exit, her older daughter (presumably) beside her. I notice tattoos cover the younger woman’s legs, her left shoulder, her right arm, the back of her neck.

As the line of shopping traffic increases just inside the store, everyone intent on getting out the exit first, all come to a standstill caused by the lone woman in the wheelchair, trying to get out through the exit door.

No one acts. No one reacts. Except one woman.

Everyone is annoyed with having to wait to get through the exit door and some have switched to using the entry doorway instead of the exit (which only serves to annoy those who are entering through the proper door clearly marked ‘ENTER’).

And as we wait, it happens.

The realization.

I could have helped that woman. I could have held the door for her, helped to push her grocery cart. Something. But I do nothing except watch. I watch the one woman who, in front of two empty-handed men, motions to her mother (presumably) to stay and wait as pushes their cart aside while holding the exit door open with one hand and pulls the other woman in a wheelchair’s grocery cart out the door behind her.

And as she pushes the cart to the handicapped vehicle’s space in the first row out the door, she carries on a brief conversation with the woman in the wheelchair before going back to get her mother and their cart which she had left inside the exit door.

And I watch her go, this younger woman with tattoos that cover her legs, her left shoulder, her right arm, and the back of her neck. And I think to myself, she may have covered herself with black ink, but she was the only one who left her heart uncovered that day.