time traveler


My lover and I are going to the grocery store.

She just calls it “going to the grocery”.

She doesn’t say the “store” part.

The parking lot is full and my lover wants to get closer to the side of the store where she likes to start shopping.

She has bags in her trunk so that we do not collect any more paper ones in the small crevice at the left of the refrigerator.

She clutches “The List” in her hand and goes in through the produce door.

We kiss and I go and order an organic coffee on the opposite side of the store.

It is not important to me that it is organic, that is just what they serve here.

When I find her, she is standing next to art in the fruit section which shows the five stages of banana ripeness.

We are advised to avoid consuming green bananas.

A woman prints a label for a potato and puts it in a strangers cart and then laughs with the stranger when she discovers her error.

A brown doll is sitting next to the peaches.

The doll is naked.

A brown child reaches for it.

My lover pushes the cart, but sometimes I do too.

She disappears into lettuce and cabbage and I watch the cart.

There is a woman with muscles who smiles at us, but only I see her.

We are buying baby food, which we will eat.

We like the ones you slurp from a pouch.

We are the happy babies, here.

She cannot decide on which pasta sauce to buy.

We get the store brand.

She crosses items off her list with a marker she brought from home.

A woman who is not named Kimber, but is a long-time friend and business partner of Kimber’s, gives us a peanut butter cookie.

Her company is called Kimber’s Cookie Mix because Kimber used to make cookies as a kid.

There is slight annoyance that this woman’s name is not on the label, even though she is an equal partner.

The cookies are soft and delicious, but I tell her we are dieting, even though we aren’t, because her cookie mix cost $8.99, which I feel is overpriced.

My lover pulls her body into herself as we approach the dairy to keep warm.

I find the cool temperature pleasant and inspect a loaf of bread without knowing what I’m looking for.

The lunch meat is filed away in an ice cream freezer next to salami and pie.

My lover picks up each package of meat, looks at it, then puts it back.

She does this many times.

She is not happy with the selection of meats.

It shows on her face and in her shoulders.

She decides we should get freshly sliced meat from the woman behind the counter.

Many other people have this same idea.

We are all given a number.

Our number is 77.

I see two green balloons and my lover sends me to get fresh basil from produce, which we did not get when we were there earlier.

A vendor offers me some beer, but it is morning and also, I don’t drink anymore.

I see two people I’m sure I’ve seen before but cannot place.

The extras in my movie.

She’s still waiting for meat and I can tell the basil I brought her is not what she was expecting, but she is fine with my choice.

We end up with ham from the meat woman, but try the salami, which my lover doesn’t like.

We pass the part of the store where the fishes still have their heads on and I imagine what they would say if they could talk:

“Try us with soy sauce!”

All the check out lines are long so we get behind a woman with a big bag of green beans who looks like she knows what she’s doing.

My lover and I put all of our food on the belt-machine-thing that takes it to the checker.

It is a long parade of items we have manifested from The List.

My lover still doesn’t think we will have enough to eat because we did not think about “meals”.

We only got snack stuff and fruit.

I feel like we will make it work or just come back for more stuff later.

My lover starts to bag her own groceries even though they have a person who will do it for you, so I join in and help.

She puts the full amount on her debit card, but I hand her $40 cash which is about half.

My coffee needs a refill and we part ways, but not before she reminds me that I have the car keys.

I head to the opposite end of the store, again, while she loads the groceries in the car.

I am not sure refills are free for coffee, but it is self-serve so I help myself.

The coffee is called Sumatra.

It is from Indonesia and very hot.

My lover is pulling up in her tiny silver car just as I walk out of the store.

I get into the car and spill scalding coffee into her cup holders, twice.

My lover is visibly annoyed, very briefly; but then kind.

She keeps facial tissue in the glovebox which I use to clean it all up.

My lover compliments my clean up skills then pats my leg.

We drive home with Top 40 on the radio.

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