Friday, November 21, 2008

16) Plain, part 1

The old woman set her handbasket on the checkout counter. Flour, a chicken breast, a jar of pickles. She never bought much in one trip since she came to the store almost daily. She counted out her payment in change. Not that it really seemed to bother the clerk, probably because the store had only opened an hour ago and there was nobody behind the woman in line. Besides, the woman wasn't spending that much money and was mostly paying with quarters. The groceries went into a canvas bag. She seemed to take pride in the fact that she has been using canvas bags before it was popular. She only found it strange that nobody in the store ever seemed to recognize her.

The old lady stepped out of the grocery store just in time to see the bus pull away. She now wished that she hadn't bought the chicken because now she would have to walk home. Sometimes she wished that she had not sold her car. She told the person who bought it that she couldn't afford to pay for the car anymore. She did not tell the buyer that she had paid off the car years ago.

She didn't have mirrors in her home. No point. She had not exactly been a looker even in her best years and age had not been kind to her features. She had never been one for dressing flashily and the only time she wore makeup was for her sister's wedding. She never herself married and had never been in a serious relationship.

I bet now you expect me to say something like, "But there was a man. Once. The woman didn't like to be reminded of it, of what might have been." But that would be a lie.

Continued tomorrow.

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