A regular customer came into work and I have never before met such a loud, bubbly and talkative woman. This one particular day she walked in and having a never-ending conversation with her was the last thing I wanted to do. I avoided making eye-contact. Eventually, she finished her shopping and walked over to the register. Commence ‘Operation Cashier Small-Talk’. I asked her how her day was and she replied with, “alright thanks”. I paused, waiting for the inevitable story time, but for some reason nothing followed. I looked at her confused and asked again, “how are you?” She immediately started downloading – her husband had an affair and tonight was his first night with the kids after they had divorced, so she had an overwhelming sense of loneliness.

Lesson learnt. Don’t take things for face value, because perhaps people are just like the ocean. On a beautiful day, it captures a serene and perfect atmosphere with the water reflecting a cloudless, crisp blue sky, but beneath the surface, the invisible depths create a darkness that echoes a quiet, distant and lost place, almost forgotten.

Keep smiling. x

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