Tuesday nights finds me wondering around the grocery store as usual. A clerk comes up to me as I stand in the produce section trying to pick the perfect bunch of bananas that will last me for the week – not too ripe and just green enough to not be a mushy, brown mess come next Tuesday. He is young and looks no older than sixteen; his face pockmarked with the scars of acne.
“Sir, we have free bananas up at the service counter,” He says.
This piques my curiosity.
“Free bananas, you say?” I ask.
“Yes sir, go check up front,” He replies.
I walk over to the service counter with my almost barren buggy in hand. Sure enough, there is a big cart marked free bananas, but they are getting awfully ripe. I grab two big bunches with the intentions of making banana pudding tomorrow which is a good recipe for overly ripe bananas. I wander around the store finishing buying my groceries and checkout. The grand total comes to $61 dollars. I am pleased with the frugal amount and my judicious shopping.
I start the drive home through the old mill village homes that once housed many a blue collar family through countless seasons of winter and summer. The neighborhood is showing its age and is a festering mess of trash and crime these days. The run down old homes are a cheap bargain on the housing market inviting the less desirable of our kind. A small kitten ambles out into the road in front of me causing me to mash down upon my brakes abruptly. My anti-lock braking system almost kicks in as I serve to miss it. I put the car in park, look for oncoming traffic, and get out to check on it.
“Where are you going little fella?” I ask it as if it were a child. “You are going to get run over.”
It mews complacently as if being in the road was the safest place to play. I scoop it up and wrap it in my warm jacket and we get back into the car. It seems Maggie has a new companion. My father is going to kill me for doing this. Luckily, he is across the country in the warm clime of sunny, southern California. It seems a world away. The kitten’s future is uncertain, but she is safe for now.