Grocery Shopping After Work / by India Choquette

I am thinking hard. I want to buy almonds, but since this grocery store has two floors, getting almonds means that I have to go downstairs.

And my legs hurt.

Which is ridiculous, I know. Especially because I'm noticeably strong. I once had a cashier at Duane Reade ask me how I got my legs to look like they do (she meant my butt, but was too polite to say that). I taught her to squat in front of the Dentyne Ice. 

I decide the almonds aren't worth it. My legs are sore from working out, so that's reasonable, but my feet are flattened and exhausted from standing on them all day. From pacing and demoing exercises and walking between sessions. 

Now I'm just standing there. I'm next to the flowers, and I should buy some. For myself, I think. I'm tired and I left my apartment 15 hours ago and it would be nice to have something beautiful on my counter. But my counter is small, and I think if I had a vase there, I wouldn't have room for my coffee maker and coffee is everything.

One thing about me is that I seem to have endless energy. But the truth is I either have 100% or 0%. And I am good enough at my job that I usually can trick myself into staying at 100% while I'm in front of people. But I deflate the second I walk out the door. And when I'm at zero, I can wander around the grocery for two hours because I can't focus enough to make a decision about almonds. 

I watch a mom with her kids. She's trying to keep the boy in the cart, but he's absolutely having none of it. His sister is putting tiny cups of coconut flavored yogurt in the cart, one after the other, and the mom is trying to put them back on the shelf and keep the little boy from escaping at the same time. 

"I want a brother," the boy says.

"You have a sister," the mom says. The sister is still loading yogurt into the cart. She's loading and the mom is unloading.

"I want a brother," the boy insists.

"Two is enough," the mom says. "Stop it, Elise. We don't need all this."

"Give Elise away," the boy says. "Then have a boy."

"You want me to give your sister away?" the mom says. Elise, the sister, is not listening.

"Yes," the boy says simply and calmly.

"Well, I'll think about it," the mom says. "Enough, Elise."

The little boy looks satisfied. He's planted the seed.

I think about it. One thing about being tired is that when you are single and childless like I am, you can't really complain about being tired. 

I get my almonds and take the subway home.