Please, feel free to continue the six-word stories. I'm glad eveybody's having so much fun with it!
I was in a hurry, just there to pick up some white eggs and dye, some odds and ends, so I almost walked right past her.
There was a small crowd; there always is when they're that age, and they always say the same things: How old are they? Aren't they cute! They're twins, aren't they?
They ooh and they awww and they flatter and they are totally oblivious to the dark circles under the mother's eyes and her tight smile.
She had a double stroller and a full shopping cart, turned backwards so she could pull it through the parking lot while pushing the stroller.
This seldom works smoothly, if at all.
One of the admirers, a woman I'd place in her fifties, remarked, “Oh, they're sound asleep, aren't they?”
“They are now,” she answered quietly, followed by one of those half-smothered, desperate little sounds.
“Hey,” I said, smiling. “How are you doing?”
She looked at me. Her smile quavered. “I'm...” She stopped and looked down. The crowd dissipated. I felt myself blushing.
“I know.” I said. “Can I take your cart for you?”
“Um. Yeah. Thanks.”
I followed her to her car. I talked to cover her tears. “I have twins too. It's hard right now for you, I know. Four months is rough. And you think you'll never sleep again--”
“They take turns. One goes to sleep--”
“And the other wakes up. Yup.”
She wiped her eyes. We reached her minivan.
“You get the babies in, I'll put the groceries in, ok?”
“Thank you. Ok, yeah. Thank you.”
“Sure sure sure! No problem!” I loaded the groceries into the back. The van still smelled new.
She came around the back to load the second baby in the other side. “Thank you,” she said again.
“No problem! Mothers-in-arms, right?”
She came back after she put the second 'baby bucket' into the car seat base.
“What did you say?” Her eyes were watering.
“Mothers-in-arms.” I smiled at her.
“More like mothers-in-not-enough-arms,” she said. And we both laughed, then kept laughing because for some reason right then it was the funniest thing anybody had ever said.
And because when you laugh that hard, it's ok to be crying at the same time too.