The shopping trip

Supplies: Bread, milk, Cap’n Crunch cereal, rib eye steaks for four, vanilla fudge swirl ice cream. Oil paints, canvas, brushes, sketch book. Two six-packs of Pepsi, bag of frozen cauliflower, bag of Golden Delicious apples. Wristwatch battery, Excedrin tablets, cowboy boots, package of sun-dried tomatoes, set of four lead crystal water glasses.

Sober for sixty-seven days, and I still shopped like I was on a binge, wandering from store to store, buying what I saw, no list, no plan, in a state of fugue. The art supplies were harder to find, but there was cheap stuff in Wal-Mart, as well as canvas running shoes I thought became extinct in the 60’s. Wint-O-Green Lifesavers, two copies of Rolling Stone featuring another tribute to The Beatles. I bought one for me, one for the boys. They needed a proper education. A snake-skin wallet, toilet paper, a Brooks and Dunn CD I found in the discount bin. That covered everything. And a new toothbrush.

I took my time. Connie was home, fixing up a room for me. She called it her junk room. It was filled with cardboard boxes of old clothing, plastic tubs filled with forgotten toys, computer parts and cables. Dust magnets. There was an old bed in there, and a set of dressers. She offered me the fold-out couch in the living room, but that brought back too many memories of Grandpa’s passing. It wasn’t the Ritz, she said, but it was better than a bus station. Or an airport terminal.

In a playful mood, I thought about her reaction to the cornucopia of crap I was bringing her. I didn’t see the car that T-boned me at the intersection of Academy and Franklin Streets.

I didn’t see anything after that.

***

Excerpt from Family Anatomy, a work in progress.

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