Two bags of chips, onion dip, a collection of those cheap mixed gummies – the ones that are kind of sour, and tin foil (just because she was out). Eden started placing her items on the counter, self-consciously. She didn’t always eat like that. Or, at least, she didn’t think she did. It wasn’t as though she kept a food journal. She began moving quicker, eager to get her impromptu, late-night drug-store transaction over with. As she handled the foil, she caught sight of her chipped nail polish and felt suddenly as though it was evidence of the fact that she hadn’t figured out life yet. Not even the simple, daily mechanics.
“Hello, how are you?” the cashier asked without looking up.
There it was. The dreaded question. Eden held her breath. What could she say, really? ‘Two weeks ago I miscarried and I’ve been having night terrors ever since. Though, I must be exaggerating because I also don’t believe I’ve gotten any sleep at all. I don’t think it’s healthy. And everyday now I’m afraid to look in the mirror because I no longer look like me. I’m not me. Not that I’m terribly well acquainted with me. I’ve got a million faces. It’s hard to keep track. And, no, I’m probably not as fucked up as I think I am. But I’m definitely not as together as I pretend to be. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m lost. I can’t find me. And it’s not just the miscarriage. It started before that. Long before that. I’m just… lost. So, overall, not well. I’m not well.’
Eden snapped out of her daze and mechanically handed a bill over to the cashier, awkwardly hiding her nails. Her hand was shaking but she gave a pleasant nod when she received her change, before hurrying out the automatic door.
‘Fuck,’ Mia thought, staring down at her till. ‘Did I give that lady the right change? Shit – did I even greet her? A simple: hi how are you?’ She sighed and checked the time. Three more hours to go. ‘Get it together,’ she thought, promising herself to be attentive with the next one.
© Shyla Fairfax-Owen