RUNNING ON EMPTY
Flustered, flushed, and blinking back tears, I approached checkout and snuck a glance at the girl standing behind the counter. Her hair was clean and smooth and her makeup tastefully applied. She was calmly waiting for a customer to serve. Well ding, ding, fucking ding. She got me—the disheveled mother with sweat pooling on her upper lip and her haven’t-been-groomed-in-weeks-brows. Jackpot.
“Hi,” I said, fanning my face before starting to lay my groceries on the conveyor belt. My usual meticulous grouping of like products flew out the window as I hurried to match the speed of the scanning and bagging. Onions mixed with ice cream, mixed with shampoo, into the bag they went, messy—like my unwashed hair, banana-smeared top, and scrambled brain.