Rebecca walked home the long way, avoiding the new dollar store. On her one visit to the store Rebecca was dismayed by the rows of nailpolish in ugly colours and the sad, out-of-season Christmas decorations. A store of ugly things that nobody wanted.
Rebecca was paralyzed. She stood in the toy aisle amid the bashed boxes of fake Barbie dolls and the sadness of it all closed in on her. She felt for every toy and cheap plastic soup ladle, every maudlin sympathy card and every smelly, ceramic potpourri Victorian house. She wanted to scoop everything up, buy out the store.
These things, they all deserved a chance. They probably started out so happy and hopeful before being shipped to the ugly store to live among the ugliest things.
Dave found her in the toy aisle of the store, immobile and weeping. Kids stared and made comments before being led away by their parents. Dave put his basket down (half a dozen dark nail polishes, a shiny red skull-and-crossbones decal, three packages of beef jerky). He linked his arm through Rebecca’s and escorted her out of the store.
“Go back,” she told him once her weeping calmed to a hiccuping snuffle. “Get your things. They need you.”
Rebecca hadn’t passed the dollar store since. Though they never spoke of the incident, Rebecca noticed her father avoided driving by the store when she riding with him. She knew he’d heard about what happened. The city was small and it was one of those things that people liked to talk about. Even Lisa did her best not to use that road.
So Rebecca walked home from the Caribou Corner Gift Shoppe & Ice Cream Snack Shack the long way. She was anxious to melt the hair off her face with the thick chemical paste she used that smelled like rotten eggs and perm solution. She walked fast. Her black sweater and long skirt sucked the heat of the sun. Another block and she could feel her clothes start to cling and stick to the sweaty spots between her shoulder blades, her breasts, under her arms, between her legs and behind her knees. Wearing tights was a mistake. She tilted her head down past her shoulder and went in for a surreptitious sniff: damp and ripe.
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