Walking home from a lecture, a sudden urge for a snack caught up with him. Ducking into a convenient convenience store, he found a suitable (albeit overpriced) energy bar to munch on. As he stood in line, he noticed something. The clerk. He knew her from somewhere. From – that’s right, she was a neighbor at the old place.

What’s the protocol? A nod? A greeting? He didn’t know her very well, and he was sure the reverse was also true. Still. Old acquaintances renewed are stronger than when they were a thing. Oh – he’s up. He’s being processed. He’s treated no differently than those in front or behind him.

Probably for the best, he thought as he continued walking. The energy bar remained unmunched for some time.

Other plans

Meatballs at IKEA, just to taste the stereotype. As the meal came to a close, a couple walked by. The boyfriend was obviously not in love with her, but had not yet done the emotional heavy lifting of realizing it, and probably never would. The girlfriend was utterly oblivious to this, and had planned ahead for many merry moons to come. Based on the look of things, their imminent purchase ranged in the thousands, regardless of which currency they’d use.

Just to taste the stereotype indeed, she thought as she put away the branded kitchenware. A taste of how things could be.