"Hi!" She smiles.
"Hi!" I respond and smile back politely.
We pass at the end of the meat aisle and for a second or two I cannot place her.
She's behind me in the queue at the checkout now - we're in the Co-Op.
I remember that a few years ago I kind of fancied her in an unattainable way - she was married - but though she was an 'older' woman there was just something about her: well spoken, assured, handsome, well presented - the kind of attributes that grow on you
But something had changed and I no longer found her attractive.
"Steve died... died about two weeks ago... we were on holiday on France... massive heart attack."
"I'm really sorry to hear that."
I touch her shoulder, as if I really think the gesture will take away an ounce of her pain.
I visualise Steve the last time I saw him before he sold the shop, a chemist's, on Ryde Esplanade... I see him old yet still vital, tall, bald with white wild tufts of hair at the sides and animated about retirement.
I think of all the knowledge he once possessed - now gone.
"My mother died just before," she adds.
She seems shocked that life could turn out this way, yet tragedy is always the penultimate chapter. I want to shake her and say, 'How could you expect it to turn out any other way?'
I don't. Instead, I touch her longer on the shoulder again.
"He was a good bloke, you'll miss him."
She smiles again.
I pay for my shopping and simply say 'bye', leaving her with her sorrow. Her loneliness.
I'm walking along Spencer Road on the way home and the sky is a luminescent blue, a mesmerising blue, only I understand that, only I know what it invokes in me: a transcendent serenity beyond the suffering of existence - it makes me at one with the cosmos.
I just wish I could impart that to her but I know that she wouldn't understand, just wouldn't understand what I mean by a 'blue day'.
I get in and phone my son - it's great to hear his voice. I love him and miss him dearly.