The girl with the re-usable shopping bag is on a back aisle, reaching for something on the top shelf, and when she does a little bit of her pink stomach flesh is exposed where her shirt parts from her shorts. In this light, florescent reflections in linoleum, she is not perfect. Her thighs maybe hang with a little too much fat, her face is all ruddy, not from walking, but because perhaps she scrubs it too hard, and her eyes have dark and heavy sacks underneath. She could cover it up with make-up, I think, but she doesn’t.
I think, as I get older, I love fewer and fewer of the women I see. This girl is no exception, and so even though she is very thin and her skin is fair and her hair is dark and her breasts are small and molded well, I do not love her. I don’t even like her much.
A man comes in on Fridays. He wears overalls. He sniffs the fruits. He licks the honeydews. Joe says, write a story about that, you’re some kind of writer, aren’t you? I say, there’s no story there. Joe says, You find the story, man. You just find it.
Kevin takes a lot of pills before our shift. He spends five hours mopping the same four tiles. He talks to the girl with the re-usable shopping bag. Then, she comes through my line. She doesn’t look at me. She scans her card. She leaves. She buys oranges.
I ask Kevin what she said. He doesn’t remember. I say, Do you think she’s cute or what? He says, I don’t remember.
An old man buys cigarettes the same way everyday. He always asks for Parliaments. We don’t carry those, I tell him. He says, Oh, Marlboros are fine.
On Friday, I watch the man with with the overalls come in. He sniffs the fruits. He licks the honeydews. I watch him, looking for the story that Joe says is there. I can’t find one, I’m not that good at watching, I tell Joe at break. Joe says, There’s something else there. I say, Maybe he just likes fruit.
Joe says, The girl with the re-usable bag came in today, again. She bought more oranges. I say, I read a story once about an orange that saved the world, or something. Joe says, No shit? I say, Yeah, no shit.
Joe says, The girl with the re-usable bag, now there’s a story there. What does she do with all those oranges? That’s the story, man. You write that shit, man.
I say, No shit? Jo says, No shit.
The old man comes in. He’s coughing, but he stills says, Get me a pack of Parliaments. I say, We don’t carry those. He says, Damn the weather, right? It’s getting too cold. He coughs. He smiles. He hands me ten dollars. I give him Marlboros with change. I never see him again.
The girl with the re-usable shopping bags comes in the same day. She picks out three of the largest, roundest oranges. He holds them up to the light. She inhales deeply their citrus scent. In the bright orange-yellow light radiating off the orange, she is perfect. Now, I think, is the day. She comes through my line. I say, You must like oranges. She says, They’re alright.
You buy them a lot.
She says, I read a story once about an orange that saved the world, or something. I’m just looking for it.
Except she didn’t say that. She said, Yep. She left. There was no story there at all.