The ‘Model’ Girl

While shopping for a gift for my son’s birthday, I stopped at one of our major department stores.  You would recognize its name if given here.  It’s one of the mall’s Anchor stores.

Bending down to peer inside a case of clear glass, I was awed by its riches, a medley of valuables in all sizes and shapes.  I was quite intrigued by an array of special ball point pens.  Most were made from artful mosaic glass, with cases to match.   Lying next to them were sleeping lead pencils in beds of deep blue velvet.  Together, they created a beautiful display.  Like a painting that should have been hung on someone’s wall instead of hidden behind a case for the likes of you or me to see.

A trio of young women soon swooped by, nearly knocking me off my wobbly feet.  I was still low to the ground to see the unique treasures inside the glass.  None of the women stopped to apologize, instead they giggled and laughed, moving on their merry way.  Instinctively, I grabbed hold of the nearest thing to break my fall, leaving my DNA upon the showcase.  The police did not have to be called to dust for finger prints.  There they were in plain sight.

Quickly, a tall dark ‘model’ girl came rushing from behind the counter, her designated sales spot.  “Don’t touch the glass,” she scoffed at me!  “I’m sorry,” I answered back.  I was just admiring your pens.  A gift for my son,” I went on to say.   I thought about mentioning the three women who nearly knocked me over, yet I didn’t bother.  This ‘model’ girl’s main priority seemed to be cleaning the glass.  She sighed.  Clicking her tongue, she rolled her big brown eyes.  Quickly, she grabbed a white cloth together with her blue cleaner.

When the the ‘model’ girl finished her task, I was about to ask to see one of the beautiful pens behind her spotless, clean case.  It was then that I noticed her eyes glistening with dampness.  I sensed something in her and in return she sensed something in me.  “I’m truly sorry that you’re having a bad day,” I said from behind the counter a few feet away.

Holding her head high, this lovely ‘model’ girl brushed back falling tears.  From behind the counter, a soft, pink tissue appeared.  Somewhere deep inside, she regained her composure, her strength.  I don’t know how.  Reaching across the counter, she gripped my hand looking for comfort then, “I have breast cancer.  My surgery is tomorrow.”

27 thoughts on “The ‘Model’ Girl

  1. Beautifully written, Kim. It reminded me that every ordinary person whose path we cross has a story to tell, and that we often become the vehicles for these stories to see the light. I know this was more than a story to you. You felt for her, suffered for her, and had to do something about it. The most terrible thing about these private tragedies is that they aren’t usually shared because of the strict divide between roles. Your “model” girl glimpsed your empathy and relieved her anguish for one brief moment to then step back into her role. The three customers who nearly knocked you off would have reacted differently. She chose the right person, and I’d like to believe that all of us reading this will remember her in their prayers or, at least, wish her the best possible outcome.


  2. Wow! I didn’t expect that ending, Kim. Well done. I am especially moved since my sister has stage 4 breast cancer and had a double mastectomy a year ago.


  3. This was written so well; so very emotive…
    I could feel the plight of everyone involved, be it their vague indifference, their brash reactions, your patience, or model girl’s plight, you brought it to life with your words.


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