Dangerous Compassions

old markers

These decades-old markers we found in the office closet had a weird smell.  Half of them were dry, and some had ink color that didn’t really match the tube color. 

They drove me crazy.  I hated them, the plastic case, its single snap. 

So today I threw them away.  I bought some new Crayola markers for five dollars. 

Walmart was depressing.  They didn’t have curtains the right size for our bathrooms.  Ming was returning the terrible photo album and trying to get some pills.  I looked around, pushing a gray plastic shopping cart.

I had all these weird feelings, looking at Valentine’s stuff.  When I was a little girl, I had an aunt who would buy me and my brother Valentine’s candy.  She and my uncle divorced.  I don’t know if she’s my aunt anymore. 

Cousins I never really knew, drug addiction, babies with absent dads, a cousin who lived in her car, not knowing anyone well enough to know whose side I was on.   A scared feeling like I was supposed to be helping but had no idea what to do.

Love isn’t about buying things.  A heart-shaped cardboard box with chocolates inside wouldn’t prove anything, or flowers from a florist, or an entire aisle stuffed with stuffed animals.

I looked at some unicorn stickers and Hello Kitty valentines.  Would my penpals like those? 

Who cares.  It’s Walmart–yuck.  I called Ming to say, “I gotta get outta here!” but there he was walking toward me, real.  We paid and escaped.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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