The Checkout Line

Never fall in love with a girl in the checkout line. Actually, I’d fallen in love with her somewhere between the lentil beans and the egg noodles. I’d followed her down all the grocery isles from the bakery and deli case to the vegetable section. I knew it was creepy, but I just couldn’t stop myself as I watched her fondle the crooked neck squash and those fortunate cumquats.

Is it possible to fall for someone who buys tofu and then turns around and buys cheese whiz in the can——I can’t help but love a fellow conflicted soul. There was something irresistible in her smile, something undefinable about the way she moved——part graceful ballerina and part sensual pole dancer. Is it possible to fall in love with the way someone walks, their scent, the way they read the label on the box of Hamburger Helper? She elevated the rigors of shopping to a thing of eroticism. Oh my god, the way she sashayed behind that squeaky shopping cart was enough to make the bag boys split their sacks and spill their heavy cream.

I wanted to talk to her the way people talk in movies. I wanted to be funny and interesting, profound and witty—-but all that came out was some pathetic mumble about the weather. She responded with indifference, nonchalantly turning away to check her cell phone, a polite way of saying fuck off——- or code for “leave me alone you weirdo”.

I awkwardly looked down at my grocery cart with its random contents; two quarts of beer, generic toilet paper, a single banana and a can of refried beans,——my glum life summed up within a losers grocery list. I fidgeted for a minute, hoping to come up with a clever redemptive line——nope, not today. Feeling dejected, I exited the check outline and headed down the soup isle. In a world of grommet soup flavors, I felt like that dusty ole can of bland chicken stock. Now I know why they call it the “checkout” line.

Breaching Your Surface

Soundtrack, “Sideways” by Sheryl Crow


So often we forget to live.  Instead we carry on as if life were a drudgery, as if love were mundane, as if our time were infinite. That is the gravest of sins; to forget to be alive, to neglect the sensation that comes with breathing. Sometimes when I feel my life being siphoned away, I think of you. I force myself to think of the first time I kissed you. I think of how you tasted, the scent of your perfume and how your body fit so well into mine. I think about it in the most minuet detail, the way the morning sunlight fell upon your bare skin, the smell of ocean in your hair, the way your eyes locked into mine, your childlike smile. I stay in this place until it hurts, until I think I might lose myself in the undertow of your memory. It’s like that reoccurring dream I have where I’m trapped deep underwater and I’m struggling to reach the surface. I look up and can only make out what appears to be a distant blurry surface. And, I know you are there waiting for me. My lungs feel as if they might burst, my mind and body are starved for oxygen. Every cell in my body screams out for a sip of air. My legs and arms strain as I flail and kick upward towards the shimmering surface of you. Time passes agonizingly slow, I am stymied by fear and panic, and then suddenly, like the flick of a switch, I sit up in my bed and suck in a huge gasp of air—but you still aren’t there. I’ve forgotten how to pray, or how to be alive without you near me. I toss and turn in my bed, a stray dog incessantly barks against the night.