A Life of Quiet Desperation in a Local Grocery Store
written by moonlight.dream

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." According to my sister, some guy named Henry David Thoreau coined that together. Well, I can definitely see the truth in it. I have a ton of mass, and I'm definitely leading a life of quiet desperation. "…desperate to get out of here…"

I lift my head as I finish scanning the various items of food that contain the phrase, all natural, some place or another. I find an old lady, wrinkled by time, quizzically staring at me, probably pondering my hushed statement meant for my thoughts alone. "That'll be $85.73 ma'am," a common price for a week's worth of food. I cynically chuckle at my thought, knowing that over twelve hours of work will only get me so close to that amount of money. The woman, trying to escape as quickly as possible from my strange behavior, practically shoves the money--more like coins--into my hands, grabs her bags, and leaves without taking her receipt.

My co-failure that helps bag the groceries knowingly smirks at me. For some unknown reason, no matter how great his obnoxious attitude grows, I just can't hate him. He's like me. We're two peas in a pod, both high school drop-outs, with no expectations from society or ourselves, two people working at the local grocery store probably for the rest of our entire lives.

I make the light emitting from the number seven disappear with a flip of a switch and make my way outside for a ten minute break. I slump down onto a worn-out and wet bench, watching people pass by with rattling carts and trying to find someone with an expression screaming, "I hate life." It's a strangely frequent and beautiful sight discovering someone having a worse day than me.

My thoughts drift to my beloved bizarre sister. Both of us, orphans at the age of seven, entered the harsh world at the age of eighteen, released from foster care. I immediately dropped out of high school after the release, but my odd sister persisted onward to graduate high school and even college. I worked. She worked and studied. And now, she lives in Africa helping the Tanzanian orphans or something like that. She says she's happy and changing lives. But I think what she's trying to accomplish remains impossible.

I look around and see a child skipping ahead of his mother and trip on the curb. I laugh, stand up, and help the boy off his knees. In response, he tilts his head upward and smiles at me, only running into his mother's arms after I smile back.

I'm a mere woman leading a life of quiet desperation. My fellow underpaid co-failures lead lives of quiet desperation. Plenty people lead lives of quiet desperation. And we can't do a thing about it.

Society says so.