- vine tomatoes
- white potatoes
- red onions
- green pepper
- chips? shouldn't. probably will. undecided.
- dessert of some kind. ice cream? make a
pie? (fat chance)
- steak. Yeah I know, but I want it. hot
dogs. I don’t care; sick to death of chicken.
- hot dog buns
- 100% whole wheat whole grain bread (see?
see? I'm not totally hopeless)
- paper products: napkins, toilet paper, foil
- whatever else
The day is getting away from me again (why does it do that? annoying);
I should have started this earlier. The store is going to be a madhouse if I
wait much longer; I should have followed my first mind and done the shopping
this morning. Maybe I can shop on my lunch hour tomorr--no, girl. Don't do
that. Don't even go there.
Beautiful, sunny day: If I didn’t know better I’d think it was 82
degrees out there—the lake is an incredible paint-box blue. I should definitely
head out and get some of that, whether I shop or not.
Days that look
like this make me long for spring, a wonderful time to be alive when I was
school age, especially those elementary school years. Everything was green and
the weather was nearly perfect--not as cold as it had been, not as hot as it
was going to be--schoolwork was winding down, and teachers, happily
anticipating their summer vacations (or so I always surmised), were mellowing
and becoming almost human again. Most of them.
Field trips would be on the rise: the zoo, the park, museums, with
everyone restless and eager to get out of doors. No homework, or damn near
none. I remember how strange and dusty and forlorn the third floor hallways
used to look on the last day of school, especially with all the classroom doors
open and the rooms emptied. Abandoned and forgotten. That long boulevard of
floor that had been so shiny in the morning was now streaked and mottled with
hundreds of sneaker and sandal-prints. On the last day of school I'd look back
and around, and, momentarily, and for reasons I never understood, feel a pang
of guilt, a wistful regret.
Then I was out the door like a shot. See ya in September, Charles
Kozminski P.S.! You and the old custodian--you're both on your own now.
- extra large eggs
- bacon? (shouldn't. gonna anyway)
- 2% milk, a gallon
- nonfat milk, a quart
- bath soap
There was this girl I'd known in school. What was her name? Cherisse. I
think Cherisse. We'd suddenly, unexpectedly, run into each other on a late
spring-summer-ish day, stopping dead in our tracks at the sight of each other,
shocked after years of seeing each other in Miss Westmore's class every single
day followed by years of never seeing each other at all. This encounter was
somewhere in the Reagan eighties, a good dozen-plus years past our schoolgirl
lives. We had not really been girlfriends, not close-close friends, but I
remembered Reecy as one of the nice ones, or at least not a bully, with an
easy-going, unassuming charm. I'd sort of liked her.
Reecy was delighted to see me. I was what I always became in situations
like this: uneasy and immediately on my guard. Relax, I told myself. It’s cool.
"Norrie… Norrie?! Hiiiiii!!"
She’d rushed up
to hug me, grinning huge. A little awkwardly I hugged her back, and then
stepped away. Be cool.
Reecy." I smiled at her.
She made a
little jump forward, grabbing at my hands, just like the day when we were kids
on the gym dance floor and girls hitchhiked, boogaloo-ed, cool-jerked and even
slow-danced with other girls, ignoring the hooting, jeering boys lining the
walls. The blaring traffic effects and opening bass lines of Expressway To
Your Heart began playing in my head. Stop it.
been, girl? How long has it been?!" she chirped, swinging and shaking my
hands. She looked so happy, and—God—so young, still so much like the
skinny little thing she used to be. That we used to be.
"Um, okay I
guess, yeah. Yeah, it’s been awhile--how are you?" I said, gently
uncoupling from her. She didn’t notice, still all smiles.
fine, you know. Hangin', tryin’ to keep up with my kids!" My jaw dropped a
little at that and I tried to recover with a grin that matched hers.
Get outta here! You're somebody's mom?"
She laughed her
sheepish little laugh, rolling her eyes.
yeah! You know how it is."
looked at me again, a penetrating, right-into-the-eyes kind of look, and took a
deep breath. "So?" She said expectantly, and I braced for
it."You? Got kids? You married?"
searching gaze. What the hell was she looking for?
I'm not. And no kids, not me." I tried not to say it like I’d escaped a
plague, but Reecy’s eyebrows went up. She seemed surprised. Okay, good. I
what do you do? You working, or..?"
I took a deep
breath. "I--I'm--I write. I'm a writer.” I shrugged, took another step
And then she surprised
me. She looked—I’m still not sure this is the right word, but it's the one that
comes first to mind—she looked relieved. Pleased, but also relieved, like
I’d dodged a bullet or something. For the barest second I was puzzled and then
at once, all at once, I understood. Her words came out in a rush of praise and
pride and breathless enthusiasm, and I felt bottomless sadness for us both.
"You write? Yeaahh, I remember you used to draw all the time! I
used to wish I could draw like you! And now you write too? You're a
smiling tightly. "Well, no, yeah, you know, trying to--"
That is great, Norrie! And you know, I knew it; I knew you'd be
something! You were so smart when we were in school--you used to get really
good grades I remember that! My grades were, like”—raucous laughter—“but I used
to love the way you could draw. You still?”
I started to
speak but Reecy was an unstoppable train. “I am so glad to hear that—Norrie,
I’m so glad one of us made it..."
We stood in the
middle of the sidewalk, oblivious to passersby pointedly walking around us and
eying us up and down. And Reecy went on awhile longer like this, animated and
gesturing, almost pathetically eager to congratulate me escaping grind and
routine, celebrating me my many accomplishments.
My many bogus accomplishments.
Because I was not a writer, except in spiral notebooks and daydreams.
I'd been a good student, yes, but not really an exceptional one and I did used
to draw, because I liked to and because I could. But I was lying to Cherisse
now because the truth—that I was working a series of administrative jobs for a
downtown temp agencies—was too mundane and comedown to admit. Because I could
see in her yearning eyes that she wanted—she needed—me to be special,
and I couldn't bear to let her down or let her see how much I'd let myself
I chuckled, shaking my head. "Yeah, well. It's hard, you
know..." Reecy nodded vigorously, as though well imagining. "Oh, but
you'll make it, Norrie! Just keep it up, girl, keep doing it, you’re smart,
you'll make it, I know you will—”
briefly about other things: who had gotten divorced and re-married, who had
left town, who had had twins, who was still as crazy as back in the day. Then
we hugged once more and parted, moving around and past and away from each
other, taking turns swiveling and twisting to wave. I turned around once more;
she was a mark disappearing into the horizon and I missed our old times and I
couldn't get away from her fast enough.
And Reece if you're reading this now, try not to hate me for lying. I
was wrong for that, but I wasn't playing you, not really. I was just… scared.
You had come floating up out of my past, a girl who had known the girl with all
the potential, and—for a moment, for a little while—I was desperate to see in
an old friend’s eyes the me I used to be, wished I was, would like to have
- laundry detergent
- mild cheddar cheese
- frozen spinach
- soda pop