It was a particularly foggy-headed day. I had mustered the physical strength to get to the grocery store, but the mental capacity to handle it while there was certainly minimal. I understood that shopping that day would be long and arduous when it took me several attempts to separate two sticky shopping carts from one another and I had the realization that I left my grocery list on the kitchen counter.
I meandered through the produce section; all the greens and herbs and potato size options melded into one. I was overwhelmed and exhausted, incapable of making decisions. Grocery stores have long had that effect on me – sucking me in for hours touching things and reading things and wandering about. Chemo brain only compounded those tendencies.
Cantaloupes were on sale. I love cantaloupes. These would be delicious, I thought.
I picked up two of the orbs, one in each hand, squeezing them and sniffing them pretending that I had some clue as to how to tell if they were ripe.
I rolled them around in my hands looking for damaged areas, holding them up at my chest level to examine them with my eyes as my fingers poked and prodded their tough skin looking for weak spots.
In my melon-checking haze, I was holding onto these melons, trying to decide which one was prime for picking, for an excessive amount of time.
Suddenly a deep, deadpan voice from behind broke my fruity meditation, saying:
I slowly spun around still holding both cantaloupe at chest level to find a middle-aged man in a jogging zip-up and track shorts sporting a huge, goofy grin.
I looked up at him dumbfounded, then back down at the melons – where sure enough they rested one in front of each boob – and realized the comedy of the situation. I felt my face flush the color of the nearby watermelon wedges.
“I’ve always wanted to say that,” the man said through his chokes of laughter. “I’m sorry, but the situation was just too perfect.”
At this, I burst out laughing too, both sets of melons bouncing along with my laughter heaves.
“Nicely done, sir,” I said back to him.
We laughed until we were both in tears and then moved on our way to continue our grocery shopping. After all that examination, a cantaloupe never even made it into my cart.
As we each traversed the grocery aisles on our separate food-finding missions, we kept passing each other. Every time one of us would turn the aisle corner and find the other there we’d lock eyes and start laughing all over again, muttering "nice melons" out the corners of our mouths.