pink and blue
I have in my hand a box of caramel sweets and a bottle of Gatorade, and in my legs the fatigue that follows an intense workout. The clerk at the cash register is reading a magazine and doesn't look up from it when an old woman in front of me puts a plastic bag on the counter. The clerk reaches into the bag, and enters the prices for the unseen items, not taking them out. The total comes to just under five dollars. The woman hands over two dollar bills, two rolls of nickels, and calmly starts counting pennies in her hand. "Not enough", she says, "let's see. What can I leave?" She reaches into the bag and pulls out a can of cat food, one of several, it seems. "How much now". The clerk, who has continued reading the magazine, takes off the can's price, the woman has enough money now, pays and leaves. My Gatorade and chocolate cost just as much. After I paid, and as I wish the clerk a good night, her eyes come up for the first time and meet mine for an instant. Gone.