I wonder if she has enough money in her bank account
to get through—if the smock she’s wearing is torn from
wear and tear or from an altercation with a pair of large
hands gripping for control, and if the unicorn pins lining
her neckline have ever been dragged across her porcelain
skin in release. I wonder if she gets angry at the ones
who roll their carts up, filled with more bulk than any
one person ever should need, and I wonder if she
notices my bag and assumes I’m the same—if she
sees my watch and jacket and assumes I’m an upper-
class housewife who drinks a bottle of merlot most
nights to drown the lonely feelings of betrayal and
goes on weekend trips with her girlfriends to avoid
the children begging for attention. And I wonder
if the guy who grabs my buggy thinks that I’m entitled,
as he loads the items from my cart onto the conveyer
belt. I wonder if I am the same, although the bag was on
clearance, after the creator killed herself, and the watch
was a gift, and the jacket, an off-season special. I wonder
if she’s thought of killing herself, as she scans my items.
I wonder if she wonders if I’ve thought the same for me.
And if somehow, killing myself would discount my
contributions, leaving bulk for others to stockpile.
I thank her and tell her to have a good night, and as
I roll the cart away, one of those I blended in with
stops to tell me the succulents in my cart will last an
entire season and grow back. That she put hers in the
garage during the winter months. I wonder if she’s ever
sat in her car, in the same garage the succulents hibernate,
and wondered how quickly the exhaust would overcome
her if she let the windows down and sunk into her seat.
I thanked her for the tips, and we exchanged smiles,
as I gathered my things and walked out into the night.
Lindsey Heatherly is an emerging writer, born and raised in Upstate South Carolina. She has work forthcoming in The Scriblerus Arts Journal and Rejection Letters. She works as a pharmacy technician in an inpatient psychiatric hospital and spends her time at home raising a strong, confident daughter.