She was a cashier at a supermarket. You’ve probably seen her before. You might have even pushed your buggy through her checkout lane.
You couldn’t miss her. She was the nice, late-middle-aged lady behind the register, ringing you up, asking if you were having a nice day while she scanned your Folgers, your Wonderbread, your Little Debbies, your frosted raspberry Pop Tarts, and your Cocoa Pebbles, which, let’s be honest, is a far superior chocolate-flavored cereal than Cocoa Krispies.
She was the cashier everyone loved, clad in a red apron and a smile.
But many of us never really stopped and paid attention to her. After all, we shoppers lead pretty busy lives.
Usually, when she asked how customers were doing, most would glance up from their smartphones momentarily and say, “Good, thanks,” then go back to thumbing away on their screens.
Most folks totally neglected to ask how she was doing.
Still. If these people would have looked closer they would have noticed that her name tag said Monica, and that she was a very
cheerful woman with a soft spoken personality.
She had piano-black hair, caramel skin, and dark eyes. Her mother was from Chiapas, Mexico. Her father was from Davenport, Iowa. She was born in Florida, but moved around a lot because she was a military kid.
Ah, military kids.
Military children are a unique bunch. They don’t put down roots, many have no official hometown. It’s just part of the deal. Your parents move from assignment to assignment, from coast to coast, from country to country.
One year you’re in California, the next you’re in Kanagawa, Japan. It all blurs together in your childhood memory. You’re always attending new schools, endlessly making fresh starts.
You make friends on a playground in Clovis, New Mexico, and by the next year you’re in Ramstein, Germany, trying to pronounce “Sprichst du Englisch?” for a teacher who looks like the…