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March 4, 2019
March 6, 2019
grOCery shoppeD
she absent mindedly handed the cashier her 20 dollar bill. she hoped he would take it. why
wouldn’t he? it seemed too thin under her hands. without hesitation he slipped the bill into the
register and handed her a five and two ones. the singles weren’t the same crispness. she
considered asking him for a replacement, but thought about the bother of explaining that the one
on the right was brand new, and the one on the left was beaten up, and slightly ripped on the
bottom corners. The penny he handed her was warm, she liked warm coins, but not as much as
cold. The quarter and nickel were cold. Then she thought about asking for a new penny. she
could not have such contrasting temperatures in her wallet, itd burn through her purse until she
chilled the penny. vaguely she asked herself if she brought her children to the store, then she
allowed for her mind to panic when she realized they weren’t next to her, until logic kicked in
and reminded her she simply did not have any kids. she didn’t let herself trudge through the
fantasy of a husband. no. that hurt too much. the cashier was staring at her now. the line behind
her had grown, impatient feet tapping. she picked up her bag, containing a head of broccoli, a jug
of milk, and a steak. she considered buying an apple pie but she always liked those warm, with
no exceptions unlike the coins. on the way out she tripped and nearly dropped her groceries. that
would have been an inconvenience. because she could not drink milk that had touched the floor,
regardless if it was contaminated or not. when she stepped out of the swinging doors, too fast of
swinging doors if you ask her, a breath was released that she hadn’t noticed was being held. she
clicked the unlock button to her truck 5 times. It wasn’t compulsive, she swore, it was just a
necessity. she had no control over it, her fingers simply needed the tension of the rubber button
against her anxious skin. and after all these hassles, she simply drove home.

Olivia Kingery is a writer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University, where she reads short-shorts for Passages North. Her work is published and/or forthcoming with The Ore Ink Review, Dunes Review, From Whispers to Roars, and Cosmographia. When not writing, she is in the woods with her Chihuahua and Saint Bernard.