I Want To Be Under The Sea In An Octopus's Garden In The Shade

As I walk behind her, in the fluorescent lights and the suspiciously odor-free grocery store, I can't help but think she is perfect.

From behind, she looks amazing. Her hair is perfect, full and black. The oversized silk jacket she is wearing is hiding her frail frame, her legs don't look any worse than the ridiculously skinny 20 year olds on campus. She looks so normal, healthy even.

I'm following her, swinging the little basket, and I add this to the things I'm going to miss. I've been thinking about death too much, particularly hers, and I know that when she's gone, I'll still be looking for her in the grocery aisles, I'll still be expecting her to be peeling all the corn, even though they've put up signs saying not to.

I had a dream once, my mom and I were driving my 100 year old handmade brass bed to Safeway. We parked in the middle of the aisle, all of the colorful boxes, plastic wrap and signs hanging from the ceiling seeming more like party decorations than the insides of a store. We sit in my bed, speaking Mandarin, arguing about what to get.

As she picks up heads of lettuce and tosses them aside, complaining about how bad they look, I want to cry. I have weird memories of grocery stores, no one has memories of grocery stores.

Somewhere, I'm still six years old, my nose to the ground, searching for lost pennies. I'm still standing at the checkout, looking at the cards while my family all walk off together, laughing at their absentminded daughter. I'm still 13, realizing the grocer who's packing up the twelve boxes of cereal and eight packages of hot dogs my mom made me go in to buy (so she wouldn't look like a crazy person) is good looking, and wishing he'd find me good looking too. I'm still 15, sitting in the car, my mom quizzing me about how much an item costs, making me figure out how much change I should be getting back before I even go in the store.

I thought I had wasted my youth in those fucking groceries. I thought that I had missed out on childhood, that I never had a chance.

My mom looks absolutely perfect. She turns to me and says, "You'll have to know these things for when I'm gone. I won't live forever, you know".

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