By Peaches Schwartz
The leather in my pants creaks as I stretch for a basket on the supermarket floor. I grab it and toss in some strawberries. I wish I had gone home and changed instead of washing my face at Craig’s (Greg’s?) and getting on with it. Buuut, the supermarket is halfway between our houses and I’m hungry. The only thing in my fridge is some Yuengling and half a lemon.
Oooh, I need some cheese to go with these strawberries. I’ll wash it down with beer while watching Million Dollar Matchmaker. God, it’ll be perfect.
To the cheese aisle! I toddle over, the spikes in my high heels wobbling on the over-waxed floor. No goat cheese, barf. No gouda. Maybe swiss? No, that’s too harsh. Yuuuum, Jarlsberg, that’s where it’s at. I pluck two and put them in my basket, and then look around for crackers.
Beans, pasta, cereal, toiletries, soup, bingo! Oh, for fuck’s sake, there are three hundred kinds of crackers, and I have no idea what kind I want. I stand there and get a flash of Craig/Greg railing me hard, my right leg hooked upward. Mmm, maybe I will call him again. Then I stare at the cracker boxes again.
“Michu?” I whip my dirty hair around. And there is Adam. Adam is here, and I’m wearing a sparkly tank top and no makeup. The universe hates me. Maybe there’s a trace of eyeliner, a saving grace. “Adam? Is that you?”
The toddler in his overflowing cart comes into focus: “And who is this?” Adam laughs that easy laugh: I’m transported to a beach bonfire our senior year of high school.
“This is Mason.” He kind of waves at the Eggos and cereal and jugs of milk in his cart and says, “On Saturdays, I let Tammy sleep in.” He smiles again, and I see the crinkles in the corners of his eyes, and I slip a little on my heel.
He doesn’t move. Not one fucking inch. I could fall and break my ankle and he’d….Deep breath. I am wealthy, I am healthy, I am that bitch. I grab a blue box of crackers, flip my hair, and say, “Give Tammy my best,” and stomp to the ice cream section: Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch.
Up ahead, I see two little Adams streak by: Adam and Tammy have three boys now. I tell myself I was right to dump him; college loomed ahead and the whole world was about to open up; it would have been stupid to tie myself down.
But the things Adam did that felt so cloying way back then, calling to say good night; kissing my eyelids, nose, and mouth; holding my wrist and leading me into parties, then keeping his hand on the small of my back; I miss them now. I wish I had someone I loved to hold me tightly at night.
Fuuuck. Why did I move back to this town? Another deep breath, I straighten my tank top, hike up my slipping leather pants, run my fingers through my hair, and walk.
At the cash register for fifteen items and fewer, there is no line. I pay quickly and hold out my hand for my change. Then I hear the little munchkins, the little Adams, the proof that Tammy was smarter and better than me all along, and the pennies and dimes fall on the floor. Fuck it. I put my hair in a messy bun, bend down, my legs mostly straight, my tank top gapping. Reflexively, I look up and see Adam wheeling his cart right on by. He waves; his eyes go to my cleavage: victory.