I was at the store the other night, at about ten o’clock. A squat-looking woman wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt came in with her six-year-old son. The son had little flakes of snow peppered in his curly, black hair and a mouth full of half-rotten teeth. He wore a pair of black shorts and a thin, sweatshirt. The boy and his mother went around the store, filling a shopping basket with junk food. The boy was bounding around the store, wide-eyed and excited to be somewhere warm. I didn’t know the entire situation behind this mother and her child, but I do think that she was the kind of woman who can’t see the consequences of the decisions she made.
She turned to me, her skin dried out and bags ringing underneath her eyes. Her eyes were bloodshot like twin cracked mirrors reflecting all the bad ideas she had agreed to. I could see a chubby-cheeked girl of eighteen taking the hand of a man with a different girl’s name tattooed on his neck. I could see him leaving bruises along the back of her head, ones that she could cover with her hair. I could see small, plastic bags filled with marijuana sending her into a decade long haze. The few times that she stepped from that haze, she realized that she wasn’t eighteen anymore, she realized that she had a kid, she realized that she didn’t have the kid’s father. It became easier and easier to remain in the haze because it was harder to come out of it.
She smirked at me after her son tossed a bag of corn chips across the sales floor and she said, “Don’t have kids.”