Department Store Gypsy

She grasps the shopping cart filled with her latest prized posessions – a box of lavender scented dryer sheets, a bag of roasted coffee grounds, and a fake house plant with shiny green leaves. Her frail fingers grip the cart steering it effortlessly around fresh fruit displays and racks of starched clothing.

She inhales deeply – taking in the smells of oranges, wet cardboard and plastic grocery bags. She solemnly runs her fingers over the soft cotton of a child’s jumper. She imagines a life she never had. Never married. In her mind she pictures a wide-eyed little girl with sweet curious eyes and straw colored hair calling her “Mommy.” Raising her chubby arms up towards her, begging to be picked up so she can nuzzle her precious face against hers. She loves her and she’s never known her.

An announcement over the loudspeaker snaps her back to the present and she carries on through the fluorescent aisles. She sashays past the frozen foods catching a glmpse of her wirey gray hair piled high into a loose bun with strands spraying here and there around her face. Her purple turtleneck tucked neatly into her long flowing skirt which rests lightly on her sandaled feet. She looks up at the image of herself reflected against a backdrop of hot pockets. She lifts her hands, heavy with gold bangles and turquoise rings and brushes a strand of hair behind her ear. A thousand yesterdays flood over her eyes – with each glass paneled door she passes she imagines the many reflections she’s had over the years.

She notices a young woman watching her and wonders if this stranger can imagine the life she’s lived. She wonders if the young woman has yet acquired a life story of her own. The two exchange awkward smiles and continue on their way. The young woman continues to shift the baby she’s carrying from one hip to another. The other woman continues to shift her eyes away from the reflection of what she has become – a department store gypsy.

Department Store Gypsy


Joined August 2008

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