Transaction #23 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 17, 2010
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The fluorescent lights buzz overhead with a certain ambiance, loud enough that they can be heard over the faint melody of the worn-out song playing on the speakers.

It's not a busy night, though she wishes the store would swarm with people like flies attracted to the glow of a neon sign, if only to pass a few minutes. She glances at her feet briefly and catches a glimpse of her Canadian tire red button up shirt with the sleeves rolled past her elbows.

She is brought to attention by the clanking of a shopping cart and the distant scent of car air freshener. “How're you today?” she mumbles with her most convincing fake smile, and begins to scan the items in the young man's cart. “That comes to $22.54,” she announces.

With a flash of grimy plastic and an uneasy smirk, he says, “Debit, please.” He slides his card through the machine, enters his pin, collects his receipt, and leaves quickly.

Without saying a word, he told her a story of heartache and empty cigarette packages with his weathered face and nicotine-stained fingers. But in a department store like this, that is all you can assume. We spend all our time trying to figure people out and life goes by so fast that sometimes we forget to simply tell someone the words they need to hear to make it through: “Have a nice day.”

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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htrae22 said...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm
wow this was really good i am glad it got published
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