made of paper

There is an old man ahead of me in the grocery line. He eyes the Cosmopolitan and I imagine his laser eyes centered on his forehead, cutting through the paper, opening the woman’s chest. He pays in cash for a pack of beer and eggs, his keys swinging in a long twine around his neck as walks away with a limp.

I push my cart, the pasta sauce rubs against the milk. Glass and plastic. The old man’s head is behind the trunk of a beaten up Cadillac, the street lamp drilling a white hole on his denim back. I pass him and he lifts his head. I see his sly smile, the ghosts in his eyes as if I am an insect he wants to crush. And I hear him sighing, when he slams the trunk. 

He follows me all the way to the intersection where the broken traffic light blinks incessantly and the school sign illuminates like a cheddar slice. And I can feel the red sadness in his eyes piercing me. I am aching suddenly to be in my empty apartment, fill the fridge with the groceries, pay all my bills, soak in the Epsom salt water. Possibly waste the night watching a thriller where an old, perv driving a Cadillac has a stack of Cosmopolitan on his passenger seat, their cover pages cut out in the center. Until I fall asleep on the couch and realize we are all made of paper.


10 thoughts on “made of paper

  1. WOW, love how you took a moment of your life and wrote about it in detail elaborating feeling and expression in every word. Brilliant! ♥

  2. Powerful! I haven’t had much time to do anything other than work but I’m glad I took the time to read this today… I’m always amazed by all you brilliant writers! 🙂

  3. A great scene you’ve created there and it feels very real (even if it isn’t). I understand your protagonist wanting to run and hide, even if it means being alone, just to escape from the threatening world.
    We all have those moments, don’t we?
    Standing in a queue, just walking down the street. I often have them in buses. I live in Bristol in the UK and you come across some truly interesting people there- often people talking/ chanting to themselves, rowing, threatening the driver.
    We watched a family the other week (mum, dad, four children under five years) and during the journey the parents graduated from a minor disagreement to a full out slanging match, with the mum using every foul word she could think of. My son whispered to me, ‘She knows a lot of swear words.’ I replied, ‘Yes, love. She knows ALL the swear words.’
    So, these experiences can be an education! x

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