Sour Grapes

We met in the supermarket. She was pushing her baby along in the shopping cart, which was stuffed with disposable diapers, jars of Gerber, diet pop, and TV dinners. I rolled my cart full of canned goods and bottles of liquor next to her cart and parked it. She was filling a small produce bag with sour grapes. I didn’t need any fruit at my apartment–I subside mainly on condensed soup and Jim Beam–but I was so smitten with the blonde beauty that I had to pretend. Inspecting nearby melons, I casually wandered closer and closer to my unwitting crush. As I meandered towards her, I noticed a tiny stud in her left nostril, glistening with the light of the produce department. She was my kind of girl, the type that probably had pink hair and a bad attitude in high school. I began filling a plastic sack with cherries, not cognizant of the actions of my hands. My eyes and my mind were on only one thing: the stunning vision in front of me. She couldn’t have been over twenty-one, but the lines on her face showed a wisdom–a wisdom that probably came from raising a child at such a young age.

“Hi.” The angel’s song had come from over my shoulder. I spun around, probably much too quickly to seem as suave as I thought I was, and made the first eye contact. Her blue eyes shot daggers right into my own, and instantly I was awestruck. Unable to speak, I sent a smile and a nod in her direction. She opened her mouth to speak: her gorgeous pink lips, contrasting beautifully with her white face, lifted to show pearly, white teeth. “I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve really been stocking up on the cherries there.” For the first time, I looked down at the basket of my cart. I had filled four produce bags with bright red cherries. The gorgeous, pale-skinned maiden arched her golden eyebrow at me as I brought my eyes back upwards to hers.

“Yeah,” I assented. “I love cherries. Keep a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Did I actually say that? I did–but what did I mean by that? Obviously, living in isolation for three years had dulled my wits to the point where I could no longer think on my toes. I looked at the girl for any sign of disgust or distaste, but I received instead a wide grin and the sight of rosy, blushing cheeks.

She introduced herself as Kate, and I did the same. Then, when I realized what I had said, I introduced myself properly. My bumbling mistakes must have seemed like well-timed jokes to the girl, because she just wouldn’t stop smiling at me. I was in love with this girl already, and I had only known her for all of thirty seconds.

“Anyway,” she said, “the reason I approached you is that while you were busy grabbing fistfuls of cherries, you accidentally grabbed my baby’s pacifier from her mouth. It’s in one of those bags, and I wanted to know if I could get that back.” I was dumbstruck as I stuttered an apology and fished through the heaping bags of fruit. Eventually, I came upon the pacifier and plucked it from its red grave. The girl snatched the pacifier from my hand and thanked me with a smile. With that, she wandered away towards the deli with bawling child in tow.

I dumped the multiple bags of cherries back into their green bin and walked away, red with embarrassment. I quickly paid for my alcohol and soup, rushed out to my car, and sped away. While driving, I realized that the events such as the grocery store incident were the reason I live alone and only leave to work and shop. I got back to my slum of an apartment, locked and deadbolted the door, and went immediately to sleep.

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