Franco stared at the jar of pickles on the shelf. Or maybe it stared at him. Or maybe they were both staring at each other. Perhaps there was a connection going on, one that no one besides Franco and the jar could understand.
Music played in the background, softening the sounds of the market and all of its shoppers. It was smooth jazz, or something. Elevator Music is what most would call it. Except, this wasn't an elevator. Market Music, maybe? No. That was just odd sounding. He'd heard the term Muzak before, but was this it? Maybe. He wasn't sure.
Regardless of his ignorance on this issue, he knew something was going on between him and the jar of pickles.
From its slightly elevated position on the fifth shelf, the jar appeared to be majestic. It looked wise. It was beautiful. Or maybe that was too strong a word. Maybe that was taking it too far.
It was different.
He was sure of that.
He too was different.
At least, that's how he felt.
He wanted to tell the jar this and other things-things about his personal life, and about what had all transpired before this moment. He also wanted to tell the jar that he was not like the rest of the people who walked by it and paid it no regard. He wanted to say that he saw something deeper within it.
And, most of all, he hoped that once he told all this to the jar, it would communicate to him-somehow, someway-that it too saw something deeper within him. That it knew his potential. That it regarded him in a similar manner.
Oh, how he wished for this.
"Excuse me, sir? Can I help you?"
The voice smashed through the smooth music and the bliss like a sledgehammer coming down on a child's birthday cake.
Franco's head turned away from the jar. His eyes broke from their mesmerized stare. They went, now, to a man wearing a black shirt and a red vest. He was standing no more than three feet away. His brow was furrowed, and his face held a quizzical look.
"What did you say?" Franco asked.
"Can I help you?" the man repeated.
Franco thought about it a moment, then said: "No."
"Okay," the man said, a meaningless smile quickly replacing the quizzical look. "Have a great day."
And with that, the man was off.
Franco looked back at the jar of pickles. Only, now, he didn't feel the connection. Instead, he just found himself looking at a jar in an aisle filled with similar jars and other condiments. Whatever had been occurring between him and the jar was gone. It had dried up and blown away.
Not even the tiniest trace of it was left.
The sounds of the entire market turned back into what they were before-a single cacophonous blur. Music mixed with the sounds of a thousand shoppers talking and walking and yelling. Franco didn't know where one thing ended and another began.
It was all a continuous cycle of vague noises mixing, turning, and reeling.
He turned away from the many jars and condiments and shuffled along, exiting the aisle.
What was he doing here? What was his purpose?
It seemed that he had completely forgot.
But as he walked into the aisle-less space in the center of the large, warehouse-like market, where lounge chairs and patio furniture were on display, it came flooding back into the front of his mind. He remembered his reason for being here.
He stopped and took in the scenery. Then, after seeing all the stuff and all the people, he turned and disappeared down another aisle.
This one had soup.