A Vignette from the Perspective of Sheryl Davis: A Penny Too Much

May 2, 2009
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Pat pat pat go the feet down the aisle, shluup goes the fridge door, chilliness creeping out. I see Josie’s eyes searching the labels but not the price tags beneath. And I can read the thoughts off her face; she wants that pumpkin ice-cream. The sort she had forever ago in the park when the ice-cream cart cam by, and the lady wearing a compact of cover-up gave her a scoop “Cuz she looks like the world depended on it.”

Josie. Who skips over to Mama in her too short corduroy pants and whimpers like a dog in the rain when Mama shakes her head slowly, “No, we can’t. Maybe next week.” And I can see her whole five year old world come tumbling down in the one instant.

“But I’m gonna die if I don’t get some!” I wrap my arms around her like a cocoon. Her body is still small enough to hold easily in the bony angles of my arms. “Sheryl, Mama always says next week. Then it’s next week and I still don’t get it.”

“Sorry, sorry, but it’s just a penny too much.” I coo in her ear. “A penny too much. But sometime it won’t be and we’ll all eat ice-cream on park benches.”

I give her the teeniest smile and she jumps away, humming a song from her heart, the ice-cream already moving aside to make room for other thoughts.

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