The Convenience Store

by Priscilla Cook

The bell on the door barely rang and was caught by the silence. Puddles trailed behind her like lost puppies and muddy footsteps followed after her. Humming lights even quieted in her presence.

She was wet. I remember her hair dripping furiously as if there was an untold story hidden in those fiery locks. Her eyes were green yet also a burning red. Two hypnotizing irises spread out into exhausted dedication to heartbreak and crying. Everything about this girl screamed anger but in retrospect perhaps her appearance should have screamed at me louder.

Hidden by half stocked dust covered shelves, she dispersed farther into the back of the store. Returned with a case of beer, she pulled out a fifty dollar bill. Did she want me to waive the age requirement? Was she trying to bribe me? Was I going to risk my job for this random customer?

"The beer is only about seven-fifty." I muttered, looking downwards at her.

Tiny mounds were created in her bottom lip from her teeth. "I know but," she sniffed and looked everywhere but my face or the beer she was trying to buy, "The one person that loved me is gone. " Her eyes became glossy and she reminded me of a wilting flower the more she broke down in front of me. "These bottles will love me more than any guy."

How was I supposed to tell her no when she kept crying? I waited until there was a pause in her staggering breaths. Entranced by her eyes, I cleared my throat before speaking.

"I get off in about thirty minutes. I'll buy the beers and lend you an ear. That way I can't get fired from my job." Tapping my finger, I awaited an answer. She nodded her head and water droplets fell as her head bobbed up and down.

For the second time, she opened the door, causing the bell to ring again. Wet cement pooled around where she stood. Then more wet cement pooled around where she sat. Was I really going to give an alcoholic beverage to a minor? Sure she's heartbroken but she'll get over it in due time. I'm sure she has a girlfriend she can call up and tell her about whatever break up she just went through. I won't lose my job; but, what if someone finds out and reports it? I might not lose my job but I could get a fine or put in jail or whatever happens to people that offer alcoholic beverages to minors.

Thirty minutes flew faster than hoped. As soon as I opened the door to bring out the case of beers, her curls jolted up right along with the rest of her. Stabbing a cigarette into the concrete with one hand, her other pale veiny hand then reached outward towards me.

"I go by Lena."

According to her bright red irritated nostrils, I imagined she'd rubbed her nose a hand full of times before I came out.

I sighed, "Spreads germs Lena. I go by Michael," a chuckle escaped my lips, "because it's what my parents named me when I was born."

I drank one beer and Lena drank four. Pregnant pauses danced through our conversation. Reaching for the last beer her cold jittery finger brushed against my hand. At that moment I wanted to love her more than the beer bottles I'd illegally given her could ever love her. I wanted to slither down her throat and burn her chest in a loving way like the alcohol stung her. I wanted to linger on her lips until she stumbled into a convenience store with a taste for something else to make the pain away. I handed her the last beer between us; however, it was the first beer I would give to her in a long line of many.

The Convenience Store by Priscilla Cook

© Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

TimBookTu Logo

Return to the Table of Contents | Return to Main Page