In Memory of Kay

Disquieting Muses at the Grocery Store


If I rest, if I think inward, I go mad—Sylvia Plath

~Nowadays, my prayers go a bit like this:

“Help me! Help me! Help Me! Pleeeease Jesus, Help Me!”

Sometimes I scream the words out like a lunatic. Sometimes I sob out the slippery syllables like a lonely, lost child. Sometimes I just wander around mumbling the words inside my head.

Silently. Ceaselessly. Ridiculously.

I find it remarkable that one can hide insanity so easily, so simply, so wholly. I’ve discovered that one can wear a mask of feathers, bright red lipstick, glued on smiles and fit in perfectly; that one can walk up and down the grocery isle as if she were normal, as if she were like everybody else, as if she mattered a damn in this deranged world.

I pretend I’m shopping. My legs move. My arms sway. I nod at a neighbor without making eye contact. I stroll down each row of perfectly strait soup cans, cereal boxes, whole chickens. I lift a red tomato to my nostrils inhaling its ripeness, it’s skin cool against my nose. I squeeze the avocadoes. I stare at the glazed donuts, the strawberry pies, the corn on the cob.

But nothing looks appetizing or appealing or alluring.

Things I once savored and sinned over are dull, dull, dull. Dull as triple hell.

The cashier smiles. She runs my items through her register casually, mindlessly.

“Nice out there,” she says. “How’s your summer goin’?”

I pause.

“~Oh, lets see, my sister was murdered exactly eight weeks ago by her so-called-husband. I saw the mustard yellow tape wrapped around the house to prove it. There were swirling red lights and some reporter was clicking a camera and laughing like a moron. It really happened. I still can’t believe it, but the son-of-a-bitch killed her.

I was in the waiting area when the doctor came in. I can’t remember what he looked like, but I imagine the Angel of Death is equivalent. “She’s brain dead.” That’s pretty much what he said. I hated that doctor. I hated him for uttering those words, those life-changing words. I despised him for not preparing me for my own death, for not explaining how one goes on breathing without a pulse, a heart, a best friend.

A flower left out.

They said we could go see her, go observe her body stretched out on some fucking silver stainless steel table. I jumped up and down like a crazy woman. I screamed. I swore. I kicked somebody’s desk.

I smell her perfume as soon as I enter the room intertwined with chemicals, floor wax, something else.

I walk over to her, touch her cheek ever so softly, skim my fingers over her newly waxed eyebrows, freshly highlighted hair.

“Oh, god, I love you,” I whisper. She feels cold, like marble, like snow, like she’s already gone, but I still smell her perfume. I still see the stain of crimson on her lips~

I sense the cashier gazing at me. Waiting.

I don’t say anything. I can’t. I just smile. That’s all. I pick up my bags of groceries and walk out the door.

Kim & Kay Loving One Another…that’s all.

Kim Kim & Kay

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