True Confessions This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was the sort of thing one expects to see in a romance magazine - a combination of a true-confession article and one of those black-and-white silent melodramas from the twenties. She reflected on the past with a sort of brooding discontent that had been hanging over her all too long. The beginning, she supposed, of all this was when he'd winked at her as they waited in the supermarket deli line.

Yes, that was it. Trips to the supermarket are always a sort of competition. There are no stated rules but customers surreptitiously peer into one another's carts, surveying the merchandise. She always had a vague anxiety about whether her selections measured up to the standards of her fellow shoppers. Despite her concern, she delighted in assessing items in other carts, making instant judgments about personalities and living habits.

It was while she was engaged in this pursuit, waiting in the seemingly endless deli line that she first noticed him. She felt quite safe for some reason and stared fixedly into his cart, examining its contents. The clerk cleared his throat loudly and she looked up with a start, realizing that the owner of the cart she'd been investigating was now staring at her with a faint smile of amusement. With some difficulty she managed to complete her order, all the while fighting the urge to stare at this tall, handsome man.

On the way home she replayed the trip from beginning to end. Based on his cart's contents she decided he was a simple man, probably single. Otherwise, wouldn't his wife be shopping for him? She was distracted the rest of the night, though she dutifully prepared dinner and went through her nighttime rituals. Her husband asked if anything was wrong. She said no, of course. How could she explain that she'd fallen in love with a total stranger at the supermarket? So she smiled and sighed like a teenager, dreaming about the next shopping trip.

She saw him every time she went shopping. She decided this was a sign he was interested in her. She shopped every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, rearranging her schedule so she wouldn't miss one day. She thought of the trips as dates.

She dreamed of him constantly, especially after shopping. Her bi-weekly trips became a sacrament. It was enough for her just to see him in the aisle, selecting potato chips and breakfast cereal and methodically, crossing items off his list, thoroughly oblivious to her.

She went on her regular Thursday afternoon trip and looked around for him. Usually she saw him at once - he was easy to spot, alone and out of place, pushing a cart. She didn't see him until she was in line at the deli. There he was, waiting with another man. They shared a whispered dialogue and smiled at each other.

Her head spun with a sudden fury. She felt betrayed; he had stabbed her in the back! And to think, all this time ... but wait. After all, her love had been in her imagination, some part of her brain told her. But she refused it, too numb with pain to face reality.

She realized her number had been called. Rather than respond to the butcher behind the counter, she left her full cart where it stood and walked from the store without a backward glance. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Pasacalia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm
Mature narrative, could be a very powerful short story if the intro and ending were given a little substance!
 
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