Everything Means Something
by Katie Did

    A small strip of dirty white paper slapped  up against my ankle. The wind held it there long enough for me to retrieve it. Standing, I smoothed out the crinkles and rubbed the dirt away. It was a faded register receipt from a grocery store.
   Everything means something, that much I'd learned. The date at the top read March 29th. What a day! Only two weeks ago, but it felt like a lifetime.
    Did I do the right thing? I wondered again for the billionth time.
     I held the receipt closer, invading the privacy of someone's buying habits. You could tell a lot about a person by the contents of their grocery cart.

    ...UNCL BENS RICE              - 28 oz -             1.19
    ...UNCL BENS RICE              - 28 oz -            1.19
    ...UNCL BENS RICE              - 28 oz -             1.19
    ...UNCL BENS RICE              - 28 oz -             1.19

    That was enough rice for a family of ten for six months! Or...enough to throw at a wedding. It wouldn't be mine. Not now.
    Did I do the right thing?

    ...FRNCH MUSTRD                - 8 oz -               1.32

    The first time I had met him was at the company picnic. He offered me a hot dog. Worried what he'd think, I only had one.

    ...ENT FF CRNCH CK                                       3.97

    Entamanns! My mouth watered. I knew the FF meant fat free. I had put on a few pounds, but was 23 pounds of voluptuousness really so bad?
    Did I do the right...?

    ...SLEEPY TM TEA                 - 24CT -             2.59

  No problems sleeping here. I managed an average of twelve hours a day.

    ...FOLGERS                            - 13 oz -              3.29

    Maybe he just drank too much coffee. It's an irritant and I knew that.
     Did I do...?

   ...TV GUIDE                                                          1.50

         Ours came in the mail. Sometimes accompanied by a doctor's bill...or two.

    ...ICE                                          - 10lb -                  .98

    Good for swollen cheeks. I probably deserved it.

    ...GENRC FURN POL             - 12.5 oz -         1.15

    Big mistake! Generic always leaves a dull finish. Never do that to a sensitive man. Unless there's plenty of ice.
    Suddenly, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder. I flinched. Turning, I saw Betty, a woman I hardly knew.
    "Hi Georgia, it's so good to see you! How have you been?"
    "Fine," I said. I lied.
    "Well, I'll see you inside. Ok?"
    I watched as she entered through a glass door.
    "Ok," I mumbled, but she was already gone. I examined the bold, black letters painted on the glass...





    I opened the door and let the wind resume its course with the little white paper. As it flew from my hand, I read the last line on the receipt...


    I smiled. Everything means something. That much I'd learned.

the end

* * * * *

If you are a battered woman, get out before it's too late. You deserve a happy, safe, healthy life.

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