The panic on the boy’s face was evident. She could see it whenever she turned around, for the sake of getting to move her feet a little bit. Slowly but surely, the line would move. Slowly but surely, the toy was being sold. The stack of boxes on the counter grew smaller and smaller.
Grew? Probably the wrong word. Shrank. Shank more and more. She felt her heart pounding.
She heard the boy try to remain calm.
At some point she began to count the people left in front of her. She tried to compare that with the boxes left, especially as she saw the employees rummage around behind the counter, removing empty cardboard boxes and beginning to count themselves. Further back in line, people had already begun to disperse. Maybe to find another store where the line wasn’t as long, where people might have forgotten to check first for the release date.
The boy tried not to tug at the money in his hands. He wasn’t old enough to have a wallet. She wondered where his parents were.
There it was. Three people ahead of her. She had waited for this for months. Put enough of her allowance aside. It would soon be hers.
And yet… and yet.
“You can stand in front of me,” she told the boy. Still worried, he didn’t even question it. He darted around her, still trying to remain calm.
It was all worth it though, to see the way his face lit up when he got to the front. When he reached out to hand over his money and was given the prize in return.
Part of her remained disappointed, of course, but in the end, she knew she wouldn’t regret it for the world.