I see her every time I go to Haggen. I wonder if she likes working the checkout stand at a grocery store. I wouldn't. But she always seems happy. She smiles and chats with the customers. She says funny things to little kids to make them laugh. She asks me how my day has been.

I first saw her when I started working at McAfee.com in Amber Glen. Our offices were right down the road from Haggen, so Tabor and I would make drink runs every day. Sometimes we got lunch there. She was always there, working the checkout stand. I don't know much about her. She's young...fresh out of high school. She has a little girl. Her name (according to her nametag) is Mariah S.

Every now and then, I pull an all-nighter and zip down to Haggen for a drink or something to munch on. I've seen her there at 2am, at 4am, and at 4pm all on the same day. I don't know when she sleeps. She has a constant sniffle. She occasionally sneezes, which is awkward when she has to twist her head around to avoid sneezing on customers or food.

I went to Haggen today to do some quick shopping. She was working, as usual, so I got in line at her checkstand despite the fact that the line there was longer than at all the other stands. She said hi, as usual, and asked me how my day was. I told her my day was just wonderful and asked how hers was. She gave me the usual sad smile that she always gives me when I ask that, and then handed me my receipt. That was the signal that it was time for me to leave, so the next customer could buy their groceries.

I wanted to say something more to her, but I didn't know what to say. I could have introduced myself or asked what her name was, but she might have mistakenly thought I was hitting on her. I didn't really know anything about her. I just want to talk to her, ask her about her life, see how she's doing. But how?

"Hi, I couldn't help noticing that your life sucks."

No, I don't think so. I took my groceries and went home. As usual.

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