Dogs 2006

EXPRESS LANE
(4/6/06)


another
long
day
at work
but a stop
was needed
on the way home
for some groceries
to the quell the echoes
in my refrigerator
my cupboard
and my stomach

a crowded
parking lot
showed me
that I was not
the only one
with such an idea
but I found a spot
on the far edge
of the pavement
backed in
for a quick get away
and zombie shuffled
toward the
entrance

bypassing
the shopping carts
I picked up a basket
for my meager haul
of produce
canned goods
and energy drink
made the rounds
loaded up
and worked
my way back
to the front
and the
registers

the two open
express lanes
were queued
to the max
so I opted
to stand behind
a couple with kid
and a week's worth
of consumables
pushing one of those
little plastic shopping tanks
to transport both
their young
and their
food

the going
as the say
was slow
the man standing
upright and aloof
while the woman
in spastic fashion
transferred groceries
to the check out conveyor
while also attempting
to control the child
who was no longer content
to be seated
in a non-moving
vehicle

while
their backs
were toward me
and my attention taken
by the tabloids
I still noticed
something familiar
in the stilted movements
of the woman
silently upset
apparently
but the long wavy
disheveled dark hair
and the jerky motions
still seemed to tug at me
in sickly way
that I hadn't felt
in quite
some
time

I began
backing away
from the family unit
with awakening awareness
my workday trance
suddenly broken
and chose instead
to join a longer line
in one of the
not-so-express
lanes

she had been
my first love
from over a dozen
years back
the man
the same
for whom
she had dumped me
causing me a half decade
of dysfunctional distress
and emotional
upheaval

my movement away
however
caught his eye
and his stare
confirmed recognition
even though my hair
was much shorter
and a salt and pepper beard
partially obscured
my already
aging features

I had been
made

she continued
to stack items
not a participant
in my presence
but he gazed intently
I guess possibly expecting
the rant and rage
of my former self
to return
in this crowded
fluorescent
venue

I met
his line of sight
only once
checking my feelings
but nothing
no loss
no anger
no longing
no emotion
whatsoever
he looked
about to speak
but I turned
to the cashier
and completed
the transaction
then walked
with a purpose
to the exit

gratefully
arriving home
to an empty house
I felt a bit sorry
for the guy
knowing the silent hell
he was going suffer
on their arrival
to whatever
domicile

maybe
she had changed
but I remembered
that body language
and the tension
in the air
and realized
that the chances
of conversion
were as slim
as she was
no doubt still
beneath that
shapeless
long
dress

I had
at once prayed
for her return
and now
in God's time
I had it
along with
the departure
of any reunion
fantasies
forever

life
was good
and the night
was young

I had to only
get out
in it