Archive for July, 2018

The Bags

July 30, 2018

The Bags

She entered the supermarket on Broadway near the Williamsburgh Bridge and after using the bathroom, she put her bags in the shopping cart. She walked to where in the summer they put out fresh cut up fruit. None today, she thought, shrugging her shoulders. She went to where the bread was behind glass windows and put one long whole wheat roll in a paper bag. In the cheese department, there were no more cheese samples. It was late, after 7 P.M. Her third sample stop was the cracker container. She tasted one or more; the head cashier, an older woman with bleached red hair closed the container while her hand was trying to get a cracker. The woman paid no attention and walked on. What else could she buy today besides the bread? She chose the cheapest wrapped cheese for $4.00. She couldn’t afford much. If she liked the samples it was because she was hungry, hungry most of the time. Somewhere near the coffee aisle, a short stocky man in his 30s stopped her. Come here, he said. I want tell you something.  She guessed it was the manager of the store. From now on, you will put your bags underneath, he said. You take too many samples. Other people want to eat too. What samples, she wanted to ask him. There are none left today. He called over the older woman in the fake red hair. Evelyn, she is going to put the bags underneath. If I take samples, the accused woman said, it’s because I often don’t have enough to eat. His brown eyes didn’t seem to care. Then you come to me. She didn’t believe him. She had been eating samples for about 2 years and people walking down the street had been offering her food for even more years, so what was the big deal? She knew she looked raggedy and the people shopping at the supermarket were on the prosperous side. If the manager hadn’t said anything about putting the bag underneath, she simply wouldn’t have gone back to the supermarket. As it was she felt singled out and humiliated. Often she bought stuff from the supermarket even if she didn’t need to because it was her first stop after feeding her cats. Having someone imply that she was a potential shoplifter was making her Sunday stressful and bleak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beer Feet

July 23, 2018

Beer Feet

He stumbled; he fell on the floor. I am alright, he told her. Everything’s fine. She looked at him and shook her head. She helped him sit on the cushion. Her bare feet felt something. She bent over with a paper towel and wiped the floor. Beer! It’s beer! The floor is all full of beer. The cans were empty. I fell because of the water, he said. No, it’s the beer; I can smell it a mile away, she answered. He put his head on the cushion by the wall. He grabbed the blanket and covered his face.

 

 

 

Leftovers

July 12, 2018

Leftovers

People walked by with lunch food—paper bags and plastic bags full of food. Some looked down at the two people sitting on the sidewalk by the curb and walked on. Some gave them looks as if to ask: Why don’t you just work already? The man was not too thin, but his companion was an elderly woman. Her arms were skinny and her eyes had no light in them. Someone stopped by the woman. Would you like this? The woman grabbed the bag and thanked the person. It’s a burger and fries. The man shrugged. Take it. She opened the container and chewed hard, as fast as she could. I am hungry. I am really hungry, leftovers or no. This is food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afternoon of Nothing

July 2, 2018

Afternoon of Nothing

She waited. She waited all afternoon. It was hot, with water going down her face. It was no use wiping it off. What would have been the point? Her red cup was next to her. She crossed her legs and looked at the people walking by: mothers with their kids, men and women wearing suits and carrying portfolios, young women with short summer dresses—all of them passed her, not seeing her. She looked down at the cup. Empty—it was completely empty. For this, she thought, I might as well have gone elsewhere, done something else. She had no idea what that something else was, but the idea appealed to her. I am tired, she said to herself. Forget about it this afternoon. I am leaving. She got up, took her bags and walked away.