The symbiosis between her and the young girl behind the counter is almost complete, again. They know each other far too well now. She watches the young girl count out the money, she see’s the dollar bills neatly in the drawer and realizes why the plexiglass separates them. It would be so easy to reach in and take what she needs, she could run, she could start her car and be gone within seconds, she feels her blood begin to warm in her veins and she understands impulse and how quickly impulse can take over the actions of your body.
The young girl finishes counting out the money and places it in the tiny hole cut out of the plexiglass separating the two. She takes the money and counts it again, there at the window before she leaves. It’s become her routine. The young girl smiles at her through her over-processed hair that lies disheveled across her face. She wonders how she got here, this place in her life. She thinks about how the young girl has no worries, yet. How she doesn’t have kids and only dates occasionally, how she lives with her parents and is saving up for her first car. She knows all of these things because they chat like that. She talks to the young girl like they are sorority sisters planning ahead to the evenings events — that makes it easier. Small talk surrounding them to mask the real reason she was there. Her son wants to go out with his friends. Her dog is hungry. Her water bill is late. Her car is out of gas.
They say goodbye… again.
She walks to her car gripping the cash tightly in her hand, eyes down so no one see’s her. She jumps in her car, slams the door shut and locks it in one quick move. She always parks far enough away from the door of the business so no one would suspect she was in there… it was a small town, she was sure someone would become suspicious if they recognized her car out front. So, she parks closer to the nail salon. She can say she is just getting a manicure — no one would doubt her. No one knows the symbiosis between her and the young girl behind the plexiglass.
She holds tight to the money for a few seconds and feels her stress leave, briefly. She counts out the twenty-dollar bills until she reaches $200.00, then she stares at it again… there, in her hands. She then begins separating it onto the passenger seat. She can make it last for two weeks, she knows she can, she’s done it before. One hundred dollars for the grocery store — she’ll stick with the store brand items, instant potatoes, a bag of potatoes… potatoes are cheap, at least 5 meals from them she thinks. She’ll get the eggs that are on sale… 3 meals out of those. Chicken legs are cheap too… 4 meals out of those. She goes over her list there in the car and reminds herself she can do it — $100.00 in the grocery pile. She puts $40.00 in a different pile… gas for the car. $20.00 in a pile all to itself — money for her oldest son to go to the movies. He has no idea… $20.00 for the movies once in a while will keep it that way. The rest, $40.00, she hides in the console of her car — for emergencies. Two weeks, she can do this, she’s done it before.
She looks at all the piles and takes a deep breath — still unsure of how she got to this place in her journey. Off in the distance she hears the whistle of the train, picking up the lunch time crowd, whisking them away to downtown to enjoy lunches on terraces and mid-day margaritas on decorated patios. As quickly as she imagined the ease at which her impulses would allow her to reach into the young girls drawer of money, she imagined taking her piles of cash and hopping on the train to enjoy a cold drink at her favorite spot, people watching with her friends, laughing, hugging, telling stories. The whistle blew again as she started her car, pulling away from her innocent parking spot near the nail salon, aiming the car toward the grocery store because that’s where her life is taking her right now, the symbiosis is complete, again — her dog is hungry.