In the middle of the night she enters the grocery store from the dark parking lot, blinking the light from her eyes, her lids coming down slowly, leaving grocery images on the backside of her eyelids: red Quaker Oats bins with the smiling man in the black hat, apples mounded to pyramids, coffee cans green and red like Christmas, detergent boxes in a chorus line of cleanliness. Then she opens her eyes, opens her coat slowly, button by button, as if for a lover who will take her with gentle, loving licks. She pulls a cart from its ugly coupling, slings her worn grey purse into the child carrier, and wobbles past the produce, squeezing and pinching and palming the fruit, raising an apple to her face to breathe in a Washington state summer with her family in 1952. In those days everybody liked Ike and her parents danced together at their own party to “Picnic,” her favorite song, and she dreamt taffeta-skirted dreams in the bottom bunk, her little brother muttering in his sleep in the bed above her. She puts the apple back precisely, her fingers lingering over its red smoothness before she walks on, pushing the cart ahead of her. The bananas are greenly ripe, firm and fragrant, breakfast size. She hefts a bunch, pulls two fine ones from the stem, and lays them carefully in the bottom of the cart. She hums to the murky music coming from the speakers she never can see. Blue Moon.
Comments · 3
There’s something about this piece of prose that makes me want to duck out of dodge, get on a plane and fly to Hawaii.
Very sensorial. Thank you.
I find myself wondering what the other aspects of her life are like. You’ve created a great appetizer for a potentially juicy entree.
I can actually smell the apples! I’ll bet I remember this story next I walk into a grocery story – probably for many times to come.