Passing Thru - Mander Ellis - revised

Passing Thru by

We arrive at the intersection simultaneously, and there is that awkward hesitation that happens so often at stop signs. I make eye contact with the woman in the other car and signal for her to go first. I enter the parking lot and back my truck into a spot a few spaces down from hers.

I hop out, tucking my wallet into my pocket as I walk towards the pizza shop. A car is approaching on my right, and the woman from the stop sign, who I now see is pregnant, is on my left. I hold my hand up to stop the car. The woman gives a wave and starts walking across to the sidewalk. I fall in step after her and thank the car with a wave of my own.

The woman seems to be in her thirties, like me. She looks cute and healthy in a light blue dress. I now see what people mean when they say pregnant women are glowing.

Her belly is slowing her down, so I outpace her and hold the door open when we get to the pizza place. She smiles bashfully and thanks me as she walks through. Her scent brushes past me. I’m not sure if it’s her shampoo or laundry detergent, but it’s pleasant, flowery.

She gestures for me to go first, I guess since I had reached the entrance before her. I go ahead, not quite sure if this is the appropriate thing to do. I flashback to high school P.E., when we learned how to square dance with the girls.

I order and then step aside to wait for my pizza. There is a small bench by the door, but I leave it open for the pregnant woman.

She orders and then carefully lowers herself onto the bench. I feel like I should make conversation, but can’t think of anything to say, so I take out my phone to look busy.

Her order is called first, and then mine. A man exiting the pizza shop keeps the door open for her, and I can’t help but feel that he has stolen my job. He keeps it open for me, and I grudgingly pass through behind her.

On the sidewalk, the woman looks back and smiles goodbye to me, then continues to her car. For some reason, I’m sad to see her go.

I unlock my truck and slide in with the pizza. To end our little dance, I wait until her sedan has cleared the parking lot before heading my separate way.





Mander Ellis toggles between identities as an actuary, mommy, writer, and artist.

Illustration – @mander.ellis




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