Scenes in a Target

He walks a few paces ahead of her and it might as well be a million miles because you can almost hear his mind working on getaway plans. He’s got the kind of vibe that relies on muscle memory, passionless. He’s wearing a collared white shirt and faded jeans and a look on his face that wants to be anywhere but here.

She owns a pair of eyes that must’ve ruled the world inside every single night of some other time and place before now. Dusty cobalt ringlets that spin like virgin promises, with raven winged daggers anchoring the sides as if rooks in a game of chess. Those eyes have a look to them that doesn’t quit telling the truth, no matter how many lies she feeds them.

Their simple gold wedding bands remind me of sunken treasures as they trawl along the aisles in search of things they cannot buy. Their exchanges are skeletal meanderings of necessary dialogue. The only energy between them is given to silent wishes. She’s wishing she’d taken that chance with the cowboy Yankee who tended bar and played minor league ball and he’s wishing he’d kept that job in Austin, Texas. And they’re probably wondering if their best chances got lost on that highway to forever, and if they can ever get it back.

They pass an old man with a Vietnam Veteran baseball cap tucked inside his bushy red hair. He’s pushing hard on an age where every day is a blessing and every night is a curse. He talks to himself and calls her Patty, and you get the idea she’s the best idea he never got to keep. His cart is empty as he roams aimlessly through times and places that broke him and a fate that never put him back together again.

She politely moves around the old man in the baseball cap who’s talking to himself after which she mutters curse words to herself. She wonders what it must be like to have all day to do nothing with. Her life is a schedule. The kids have to be dropped off at her mother’s house . . then off to work . . a conference call . . another meeting . . pick up the kids and finish off their checklists for camp . . PTO meeting, Sometime around nine o’clock she’ll plug into some Rachmaninoff, pop a Lexapro and have her way with a bottle of Merlot. And she’ll disregard the texts from her piece of shit husband who wants to come home from purgatory after being banished for fucking the secretary. And she’ll just turn off her phone and thank whatever’s out there that she has two good reasons for waking up in the morning.

And to his eyes, she’s a perfect chance. The cougar on her phone, tapping her day to life as she waits in line. Smartly dressed . . a professional lady. An impression on her ring finger means she’s looking for revenge on some guy. Quick fix lunch packs in her cart means there are kids. Which is just fine with him. Kids were something they never got around to when she was still here. He hates that he blames her for leaving, because it wasn’t her fault; she never saw the tractor trailer that veered into her lane and took her away. And sometimes it feels to him as if that life he knew was happening five minutes ago, and sometimes it feels like it never happened at all. And the years have been cold and lonely and forever seems too long from here.

She glances back at him and smiles and it gives him something to work with. He wonders if the universe has erected a sign post at check lane seven, and before he can stop himself, he’s offering to pay for the item she mistakenly left in her cart while rushing through. And her smile tells him something and their exchange tells him more. And so what if it goes nowhere, and so what if he’s never going to find the thing he lost. He’s already lived the last chapter, so the chances are all that he has left.

He places a divider on the conveyor belt for the man in the collared shirt and blue jeans and the girl with the tired blue eyes.

22 thoughts on “Scenes in a Target

  1. B,

    The way you take a simple “people watch session” (and who doesn’t loves those?) and create scenarios for each of them…. You are truly a Master wordsmith. You could have added 50 more stories and I would have read each and every one and pictured each and every one…

    Love and losing the Lonely

    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,

      Lonely is a state of mind. We oftentimes take loneliness to be a tangible commodity when in truth it’s not at all. It’s an amalgam of societal expectations that filter our perceptions (and in many cases skew them altogether), reliance on memories of the past rather than staying in the moment and our own doubts.
      I see these scenes every day, hundreds of times a day. And I advance my intuition on them, just for fun. Because when you dispense with the details, which are purely embellished for the purposes of writing a story, the vibe is easy enough to pick up on. And man . . I see all these people, all the time.

      Peace and never checking out

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree with you on that one. I thought for sure I would be lonely when I travelled alone and was amazed that I was not. My state of mind was in the most wonderful place. No one could make me feel anything negative about going to my dream destination, even if it was alone.
        I imagine you do. And it is fun to build a story around a passerby. You did a more than wonderful job…

        Peace and always in the moment

        Liked by 1 person

        • You possess a passion and zest to which most spend big money on obtaining OTC. Don’t you ever lose that because even if you are not aware, that ability to live in the moment is an infectious property you give to others. Being that kind of contagious is a very, very good thing indeed.
          You’re a wonderful soul who brings a smile to so many faces.


    • Frank,

      This is Marc. But your intuition is spot on nonetheless, because this is something Linds B would absolutely write!
      She’s a lovely young lady, but she is dark as all get out sometimes. Which is why we are such great pals.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I went to a writing conference years ago. Dorothy Allison gave the “keynote” speech during lunch and talked about how writers “steal” people. This piece is a perfect example of the concept. And is a reminder that I need to get back to the place where I looked at people and imagined their stories.

    Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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