Dollar Storing

by on February 24, 2024 :: 0 comments

photo "Means to a Dead End" by Tyler Malone

It was my first trip to a dollar store anywhere, this one on Broadway, and she was aghast that I’d never been to one before. Dollar Tree was her idea of a darn good time. I was back in Knoxville after burning through money in Beverly Hills like Satan was after it. Had some good times, paying the price after. So now here I was, poor and at the dollar store.

I once looked down on such stores yet had never been in one. Typical. Aware of that hypocrisy, I vowed to have an open mind, and frankly at this stage I had few options, so I was determined to make do with a decent attitude.

It was a stunning sight. Mounds of trinkets were on display and I was shocked to learn you could get laundry detergent for a buck. Literally. She became mega-excited and said she wanted to load up on toys and clothes for the kids. She seemed so intense, I nearly worried that maybe our times between the sheets at night must be paling in comparison to dollar store ecstasies and I just hadn’t known.

“Let’s get Kameron and Dillon some of these toys,” she shrieked. For a small person, she never lacked lung capacity.

People stared and I don’t think it was the volume of her voice as I’d seen similar stares elsewhere, at the food bank or thrift store. Perhaps it was as simple as seeing a biracial couple in the South. Knoxville wasn’t Atlanta and such things weren’t seen very often yet where I was.

It wasn’t like that back in L.A. When there are over 100 ethnic backgrounds and cultures in the area, you’re more likely to see couples and families of all types than in considerably less diverse places like Knoxville or Chattanooga.

Somehow I felt out of place, though, and shifted about noticing blank stares on tired faces that seemed beaten by the day. A tall Black man chugged a Sprite while waiting in line ahead of us, spraying drops through the air. Funny how life works. I used to make bank and now here I was on food stamps, dating a single mother on welfare. I looked at her and smiled. Her caramel skin glistened in the moist heat.

editors note:

On occasions, life is full of riches, and even cheap pants don’t have holes in pockets so we can keep treasures a little longer than memory allows us. ~ Tyler Malone

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