Humiliation: Aisle 3

My First Boyfriend lives about 10 miles from me, with his beautiful wife and 2 lovely children. While our romance was brief, our friendship afterwards was always solid, and I’ve always considered him a friend. We’ve often joked on Facebook that it’s so odd that we’ve never run into each other, despite the fact that we shop at the same stores and frequent the same restaurants. In the 8 years we’ve lived so close, we’ve never so much as bumped into one another at the grocery store.

Until yesterday.

There I was, standing in line at my local Bi-Lo, irritated by the crowds and the meat department’s lack of chicken breasts, when I noticed a relatively attractive man, perusing the cereal end cap and laughing with his two adorable daughters.

In an instant I recognized My First Boyfriend, and in that instant, my past “used-to-be-thin-and-beautiful-and-everything-else-I’m-not-anymore” life violently collided with my “fat-sweaty-melted makeup-irritated with the world-what grocery store doesn’t have chicken breasts???” life. I was literally stopped in my tracks.

We’ve all had those moments of feeling like the deer caught in the headlights…right?

I always wondered what it would be like to run into My First Boyfriend. Naturally, in these daydreams I was always wearing my favorite outfit, accessorized to perfection, eye liner just so. I’d be at least 30 pounds lighter, and my hair would be newly cut. My husband would be with me, wearing his wittiest t-shirt (because who am I kidding, he’d never be in anything else.) We’d recognize each other, hug, laugh over how we’d finally managed to run into one another after so long of living so close. I’d introduce him to Brian, who would dazzle him with his jocularity and charm. Maybe in one or two of these daydreams we were with our adorable young child, who stole the show. And we would all leave the situation feeling good about ourselves, perhaps having made a “new” friend to hang out with on the weekends.

Is that what happened?

Of course not.

As previously mentioned, my makeup had all but melted off in the less-than-air conditioned store. There were people EVERYWHERE, and I don’t do well with crowds, so I had my perma-scowl firmly attached. The shirt I was wearing had a stain on it from when I spilled my morning coffee. My shorts were wrinkled and falling down (due to my recent weight loss, which is a good thing, but not so attractive.) There was no witty husband or dazzling child. There was just a sweaty, exasperated me and my filled-to-the-tip-top cart. (Nothing makes a fat girl look worse than a shopping cart full of food, fruits and veggies or not.)

And so, rather than smiling, waving, greeting My First Boyfriend, I ducked behind the magazine rack, pretending to be enthralled with Will and Kate’s Amazing Wedding, while silently praying “PLEASEdon’tseeme, pleasedon’tseeme, pleasedon’tseeme.”

I stayed that way for a solid 2 minutes and, when I glanced up, My First Boyfriend and His Two Beautiful Children were gone.

I bum-rushed the cashier, shoving bananas, coffee creamer, and one large pork shoulder in her face. There was no bagger because things were so busy, so I started feverishly cramming groceries into bags.

I was met with: “You don’t have to do that, ma’am. I’ll be happy to take care of it.”

To which I replied: “Noit’sokayIdon’tmind. Areyoudoneyet?”

As soon as I paid the cashier, I grabbed my purse and my cart filled with too-stuffed bags, I beat feet out of that grocery store, Warp 9.

Zoom, Zoom, ZOOM!

I power-walked my way to the car, crammed bags into the trunk of my car willy nilly, cans and bottles and boxes spilling out everywhere, parked my cart in the Cart Corral (because not even in a hurry do I leave my cart in the spot next to mine. I’m not that uncouth.) I then proceeded to spin out of that parking lot like Dale Junior.

The whole way I home I congratulated myself on a job well done. I was the most sleuthy grocery shopper known to man. I had dodged an undesirable encounter with My First Boyfriend AND managed to save $15 on a $102 grocery bill.

But as I pulled into our driveway, a sense of embarrassment washed over me. What had I just done? Was I seriously so vain that I couldn’t walk up to an old friend and say hello? Was I that ashamed of my body that I couldn’t swallow my pride for the sake of friendship? I instantly felt ashamed.

Brian laughed at me. Then told me I was beautiful and he loves me just the way I am. Then he laughed at me some more.

After sleeping on the encounter, I’ve decided that I’m not going to move out of this zip code. I might even say hello if I run into him again.

But I’m thinking about switching grocery stores.

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