The Red Lolli

It was Harry’s Supermarket
The place we all knew
The place we all went to.

There was a time
When I was younger
A toddler really
And yes, I remember that time
I remember most things in life except when
I was a baby.
No one remembers being a baby.

But there was a time,
A time inside Harry’s that I stood beside my momma
We wove up and down and
Up and down
The aisles looking for
Crackers,
Soup,
Frozen Meals,
Ice cream,
The “essentials” as momma called it
When I saw it.

It was glistening red.
A sugar pop.
The best kind, really.
The kind all kids
Want
Crave
Plead for from their momma’s and poppa’s.
It called my name, perched from its
High stand at the beginning of the check-out lane.
A quarter for one, a dollar for four.
My toddler brain thought it was
the deal of a lifetime.

Momma said no.
I threw a tantrum and she smacked me
On my kisser
And walked down the cashiers aisle without looking back.
No one looked at me.
Everyone ignored me.
That’s how it was in the town that housed
Harry’s Supermarket.
Now, I stand at the start of the
Very same aisle
23 years later.
Well into adulthood, I grab the single lolli
Placing it onto the conveyor belt
A jolt of excitement I haven’t felt since highschool
Travels across my body.

The woman behind the register
Ripe with pregnancy and alcohol
A stench of cigarettes blanketing her
Plump form scans the few items I have
Wine,
Frozen meals,
Ice cream,
Chips,
The “essentials” I now call them.

“When are you due?”

I was never one for conversation.
Neither is the woman. She grunts.
Her name is Stacy, as dictated by a cheap plastic tag.
She hands me my bags and I
Smile.

“Have a nice night, Stacy.”

Another grunt and I hurry out of Harry’s
Not waiting to fish out the red lolli from the bag.
Darkness has since descended over the sky
And the singular lamppost in the
Cramped lot flickers on and off.
My car sits under it and I
Push my cart to a stop beside the gross burgundy paint job.

“Took you long enough, mom.”

My son said, but I ignore him as I
Undress my lolli,
Mouth watering.
A childhood “no.”
Become an adulthood “yes.”

“It tastes disgusting.”

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