It was eight in the morning when rays of sunlight began sneaking through the small hole in the roof, warming up Genaro’s shoulder and slowly making their way up to Lucia’s eyes, waking them both up. Lucia and Genaro Mendez were a pretty humble couple that lived by themselves in a small house by the outskirts of the city. They had always wanted to have kids but they had never managed to have one due to a problem with Lucia’s uterus, of which they had decided never to talk about several years back. As every weekend, the woman got up, squeezed her feet into the sandals that were resting besides the bed and headed to the kitchen in order to prepare breakfast for them both. However, there was no bread.
“Hey love, could you go to the super market and get some bread for breakfast?”
He, as the nice, caring husband he was, accepted.
“And since you’re already at it, could you also buy some beans, some tuna…”
The list went on, but she wrote it down in a piece of paper to make it easier for him to remember.
But he went back to sleep. He wanted a little bit more time to recover from the previous night’s party, in which he had drunk too much to be functioning properly so soon without a long nice sleep.
When he woke up for a second time, he was still dizzy and stupefied, but he believed himself able enough to drive their car so he patted the drawers looking for the keys until he found them and then he headed towards the main entrance of the house, grabbing the shopping list form a counter near the door.
“Ok I got the list and I’m leaving now. Is there anything else you need?”
“No, everything’s there. Please hurry, food is almost ready.”
After getting the response from his woman he headed for the car.
He got in, and from the inside he made a greeting gesture with his hand which was meant for Mrs. Roberta, and old lady who has watering some plants she kept in stone vases in her yard. The woman, as joyful as ever returned the gesture and smiled, without knowing if it was him or his wife, since her sight was not as good as it had been in the past.
He drove to the supermarket, enjoying the fresh morning breeze, which Genaro thought was cooler than most days and even shivered a bit as it rushed in and out the windows. When he was arriving at the store he used to visit, he noticed from afar that it was closed for remodeling. He got a little upset since he had already driven all the way there, se he headed back to the main road, wondering where he should go instead. He drove for a while until he remembered there was a new supermarket opening in the city. Even though he was quite away from it, at least a 15 minute drive, he decided to go there in order to test how good the product range was and compare the prices.
As he was getting closer to the city, he was looking at the houses through the window. He noticed they kept getting bigger and more colorful and the cars newer and more expensive. He imagined himself being able to afford a house that size someday and living there with his wife. He thought of them leaving their old rotting house, which they didn’t really like but was the best they could afford with their incomes.
When he got to the supermarket, he got out of the car and fetched the list from his back pocket while he looked at the horizon searching for a shopping cart. Once inside he read the list in order to plan his best path through the aisles, and what to grab from each one. After he made his mind map, he put the list back away, and started pushing the kart. As he walked through the store, he greeted people he passed by — he was a really nice man who got along pretty well with anyone he met and liked to make people smile. That day, some of the people he greeted returned the gesture, most didn’t. What was really weird was that absolutely all of them stared at him as he went by. A lady leered at him and jolted her head to the side with indignation when he looked back at her. A couple showed disgust in their face, as if they had tasted or smelled something really bad, and pulled their kids’ shoulders to prevent them to getting too close to the man. He even heard another buyer discuss with his companion
“What is wrong with this man?”
“Who does he think he is in order to come like that to this place?”
Since no one actually spoke directly to him, explaining what their problem with him was, Genaro couldn’t understand why people were being so rude, but an idea crossed his mind. He believed people were being discriminative with him for being from a lower economic social status, wandering around them, people from the “high” society.
He tried to ignore it at a start, but just a few minutes in he got really offended. He started getting angry and aggressive with the people who got near him. He was not aggressive as in fighting or yelling at them, he simply glared at them to show dominance and keep them away, and it worked. People started keeping their distance and widening the gap between them, but this didn’t make him feel better, it simply made the alienating feel stronger and a sensation of impotence started to grow inside him as he developed negative feelings towards everyone in that supermarket. He continued shopping, bitter and hoping to finish quickly to get out of that ugly place full of rude people. When he was finally back in his car, he was relieved he was leaving all those arrogant, elitist people behind. On his drive home, he once again saw all the houses he had seen when he was heading to the market. However, instead of imagining himself in those houses as he had done before, he now despised the people there, and ironically envied them at the same time — The envy for being able to afford that luxury, and the despisement for becoming so rude and disrespectful to others who could not.
Back home, he greeted Mrs. Roberta, who was now just resting, with a book in her hands, sitting in a rocking chair on her porch. She once again returned the greeting and that made him happy and thankful once again for living around humble and respectful people. He carried some bags inside, ready to tell his wife about the terrible experience he had had, but when Mrs. Mendez came to meet him and grab the loafs of bread, she reacted just as the people back in the market.
“Sweet lord, that’s disgusting, you reek of beer. Go take a shower right now! And brush your teeth while you’re at it!”