Standing in line at the till, I looked across the store and that was when I saw them.
I think it was their togetherness that first held my attention. As if somehow I could steady my own shaky relationship just by seeing theirs.
She was bending over the stacked apples, painstakingly selecting perfect specimens with bent unsteady fingers. Each apple chosen was submitted to him for his approval.
Like two children they stood, heads close together, making their decisions.
I saw how she leaned on his arm when she had to reach higher, knowing that it would be there. I could see he wanted to be more useful to her but was uncertain how to.
I saw him offer a specimen to her but she seemingly had higher standards than he.
Her veto was unquestioningly received and he went back to his role of approving her choices. Tenderness shone in his face as he watched her determined to make every cent go as far as possible.
Stooped and frail though he was, there was something in the way he stood over her that spoke of a fierce determination to protect her.
It brought a lump to my throat because, of the two, he looked by far the more vulnerable. That mixture of age, sweetness and uncertainty is poignant to the point of pain.
As I moved to the front of the queue and began, almost reluctantly, to unpack my trolley, I saw them wander off, hand in hand, her hem dipping unevenly around her shoes and socks.