Scars by David Guerrieri

 

“I haven’t always looked this way,” she says.

Beep. Beep. Ringing fruit and eggs, double-roll toilet paper.

“Is that so?” he asks with a simple smile kept on reserve for moments like these.

Beep. Beep. Celery, carrots, green beans, hand-picked and begging for a wash, “Well, I haven’t always been able to see. Besides, I’m not one to judge.”

Beep. Beep. Bottles of ginger ale, water, and green tea all make their way down the sticky conveyor belt, slowly piling up.

Beep. Beep. “Ginger ale is four for five this week, on sale,” she says, her arms moving side to side.

“Thanks, but it’s just me. If I have four I’ll drink four, but if I just have one, well then, you know.”

Taking the bottles one by one, placing them slowly into the plain white plastic bags, she nods. “It’s just something we have to say,” now punching in the code for 2 lbs of grapes.

Beep. Beep. “Yeah,” he says like an old friend, placing his bags neatly into the old cart. He notices the silver-lined emblem circa 2099 on the handle.

“That was a good year,” he muses, the phrase tucked neatly under his breath.

Rolling her eyes she responds, “Yeah, tell me about it. Total comes out to be three thousand five hundred and twenty dollars even.”

As he takes his last bag from the belt he pulls out a five thousand dollar bill. “Sorry, it’s the smallest I have.” But he jerks it back- “I almost forgot,” and directs his attention to the wall of chewing gum, crosswords, matches…

“A package of face-masks, please,” he says, pointing at the clear three pack.

“Lubricated, dry, or ribbed?” she asks mechanically.

“Beats me,” he says, “they’re for a friend. Have any suggestions?”

He realizes the implication of his question – foot in mouth. She answers, though, with the same consistency of the beep, beep, “I’ve tried them all. Nothing ever fit quite right, but I guess the dry was the least irritating, no clean up. ‘Easy on Easy off,’ is their slogan.”

“Oh I didn’t mean any…” but before he could finish she took the dry package off the wall and handed it to him.

“No need to apologize. Like I said, I didn’t always look like this.” Smiling, he looks into her eyes, hardly noticing the scars across her left cheek and her chin, around her forehead down to her neck.

Beep. Beep.  “Total’s five thousand with those.”

He hands her the bill, still looking at her warm brown eyes. “Thanks,” he says, making his way to the sliding glass doors.

“No problem. Let your friend know it doesn’t get easier, but you get used to it.” She stands like an old oak tree rooted to the soil where it’s planted.

“I know,” he replies under his breath again, her reflection staring back at him and disappearing as the glass doors open.

“I know you know,” she says softly, turning her attention to the next customer in line.

“I haven’t always looked this way,” she says.

Beep. Beep.

 

 

David Anthony Guerrieri is currently working out of New York as a video editor by day and a short story/fiction writer by night.
 

 

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