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Not expecting nosy questions and pregnant pauses in the checkout line

 “When are you due?”

I turned to look at the guy standing in the grocery store checkout line next to the one where I was unloading my purchases.

“Phew. He’s not talking to me,” I said to myself. The older man was facing backwards, leaning one elbow on the handle of his shopping cart and talking to a woman behind him. She adjusted her baggy tee shirt with one hand and looked away without answering. Clearly, she was trying to ignore the intrusion.

“The baby,” the man said. “When does your baby come?

Standing right near the seemingly irritated subject of his unprompted inquiry was a tired-looking mom with two little ones at her side. She looked at me and shrugged. I guessed she was trying not to cringe, just like me.

Finally, the cashier took care of the prying man and sent him on his way. The not-pregnant-after-all woman muttered something under her breath. I didn’t quite hear what she said, but the intent was clear. I could swear the cashier nodded.

I glanced at the checkout counter, as the lady unloaded her items: a six-pack of beer, a bag of coffee beans, and a tin of diet shake powder. Something was brewing, but it wasn’t a baby. I’m thinking it was more frustration than gestation.

Adapted by this user
from public domain art

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