The woman seemed tired, but that wasn’t surprising. It was after midnight and she was at work as a cashier at Walmart. There weren’t many people in the store. It was mostly employees stocking shelves and there were a very few late-night shoppers like me.
When I spoke to her, she didn’t look at me at first. She just responded briefly and went about her work of checking me out. It quickly occurred to me that maybe she wasn’t tired — at least not physically. Maybe she just didn’t care anymore.
She was about 45. She seemed to have forgotten how to smile. She did seem tired, but as I watched her, I thought it seemed more as though she was tired of life. Since there was nobody behind me, I tried to find out her story. It was quickly obvious that she didn’t mind talking. She simply didn’t care about much anymore.
She’s from a tiny town in southern Ohio that I’d never heard of. She said it was near Kentucky and she’s never lived anywhere else. She’s in this area briefly. The youngest of her three daughters ran off with a man and he abandoned her in Birmingham after she got pregnant.