Epiphany at Payless with My Daughters

By Mary Grimm

Waiting at the cash register to pay for the shoes youngest was giving oldest for her birthday – how clear and blue the evening outside the glass doors, streetlights blooming in the blue air, cars and people passing by. Inside, we paid our money while slender high school girls passed up and down with stacks of boxes, putting shoes back in their places, all colors, that cost only ten dollars or fifteen and could be replaced as easily as kleenex or paper clips.

image0-4I sang to my daughters: In the still of the night, because of how it looked outside – so blue, the blue time between day and night. The salesgirl had a shiny braid, each fingernail painted a different color. I sang to my daughters of how much better to be there than anywhere, in just our present state of happiness, how our place was exactly the right place.

Afterward, perhaps, we didn’t have enough money, or there was a fight over who would sit in the front seat, or we went to Mcdonald’s and the french fries were cold – things they won’t  remember – the feel of the car seat sliding under their legs as they fought silently, the cold lumpiness of the fries in our stomachs. But still there was the blue, the bloom of the lights, the newness of shoes in their boxes, each one saying I am a gift of this blue evening, I am a covenant come down out of this darkening sky.

Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection) – both by Random House.  Currently, she is working on a dystopian novel about oldsters. She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.

Art by Lesley C. Weston (Digital)

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