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A Trip to the Grocery Store

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Liza sat in the empty hallway waiting. Just waiting. She did that a lot now. She waited for her head to stop pounding, for her skin to stop breaking out from all the stress that pressed down on her shoulders. A single nurse went by, pretending Liza didn’t exist in order to avoid awkward small talk as she passed. Liza stared after her, trying to intimidate the employee into chatter, a clearing of the throat, anything to let Liza know she hadn’t gone completely numb from the shock of it all.

The nurse turned the corner, and Liza was alone and cold as she was before. Liza shrunk back into her cushioned chair and let her hands hide inside the sleeves of her gray sweater. She shivered with coldness and worry. Her mother’s doctor hasn’t come by yet. Liza closed her eyes, trying to push the thoughts of her battered unconscious mother out of her mind. She thought of all the homework she was going to have to catch up on for missing three days of school to sit here.

What got to Liza most of all was the fact that the last time she saw her mother was not the best experience one could have with a parent. Liza and her mother had screamed like banshees, all because Liza hadn’t sent her mother a text that she was on her way home from school. Her mother had stormed out of the house to the grocery store. Liza started to worry after an hour and a half had passed. The irony of it all was that she had turned on the television to ease her mind and saw the breaking news of her mother’s accident instead.

“Liza Smith?” The doctor asked, he had appeared in front of her silently, like some sort of secret agent. Liza jumped in her chair and stared at the white-coated man. He looked so calm. How could he be so calm when Liza’s mother was mangled in a hospital bed? The doctor took Liza’s silence for confirmation. He removed his glasses and sat in the adjacent empty chair.

“Your mother,” he began monotonously, “wasn’t looking good when she came in. We did all we could, but…she’s was just declared dead. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.” The stranger sat there for a minute or two. Liza said nothing, she stared at the molding across from her that bound the wall to the ceiling. The doctor went on about funeral arrangements, her mother’s will, important information that Liza could not hear. Then he was gone. He left Liza to sit in the chair. Now she was back to waiting. She waited for her head to stop pounding, for her skin to stop breaking out from all the stress that pressed down on her shoulders, and she waited for her mother to return.

Over time, her headache would cease, the acne would subside, but her mother would never come home to apologize for taking too long at the grocery store.





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