Not—The Last Part
Just a regular day at the checkout counter. Working at the grocery store wasn't the glamour career I'd always hoped for, but it paid the bills—most of the time, anyway. Every day seemed to drag out three times longer than it actually was. There were your standard variety of customers—the grumpy old men who merely grunted at your friendly "and how are you today?", the teenagers trying to get away with buying cigarettes when you so obviously knew they were underage, and (this one ripped my heart out every time) the overwhelmed mothers trying to control their children and get the grocery shopping done at the same time. Yes. Just a typical day at the checkout counter.
I finally hung up my standard uniform apron in the back room and tiredly fished in my pocket for bus fare. The driver, Henry, knew me by now and always gave me a knowing smile when I was exhausted from staying up too late and then working all day.
"Afternoon, missy," he greeted me as I paid quickly, searching for my regular seat.
"Hi, Henry," I answered, summoning up a smile for him as I sat down with a sigh. It was nice to sit down after standing up for hours in the supermarket. The bus rolled on and I was left to my thoughts. They weren't all that entertaining, either.
I was only thirty, but I felt like an old woman on days like this. So easily did my mind slip back fourteen years, to when my idealistic life began to spiral downwards. But I willed myself not to think about it, to shut it out and live in the present. It rarely worked.
The bus stopped and two teenagers got on. Since I had nothing better to do, I always studied the passengers who rode the bus with me. The older boy had rusty-coloured, long sideburns, and the younger looked more serious, with blond hair cut short. They both had grease in their hair, as was the thing nowadays. Seeing kids like them really made me feel old. It seemed like just yesterday when I'd been their age, young and carefree.
Except…they didn't exactly look carefree to me. They looked rather anxious, actually, and the blond looked almost sick, and flushed. What little mother was left in me fretted, insisted he'll get a fever! But it was my stop soon, and I left without looking back at the sick boy.
My apartment wasn't the nicest place, but it was better than some places I'd lived in the past fourteen years. I lived alone. I didn't need to resort to finding a roommate just to split the rent. Not yet, anyway. And besides, I preferred my quiet privacy after a long day of work. I turned the key in the door mechanically, slipped my purse onto the hook next to the one holding my other set of keys, and turned on one of the lights.
"I'm home." There was no one there. It wasn't as though anyone could hear me. But it still made me feel better to say it every time. As if there was someone who cared if I made it home every evening.
I sat on a chair in my kitchen/living/dining room and pulled out the one picture I had of the person who changed my life forever. My baby boy. He was so small, I marvelled every time I saw the photo, such a tiny baby. I knew he was fourteen years old by now, but I still couldn't think of him as anything but my little baby son.
I'd never met the people who took him after I gave him up for adoption. I didn't know where he lived or who he was now. But to me he was Mikey. That was the one thing I had requested of his adopted parents—through a social worker, of course—that they name him Michael, after his father. I still didn't know whether or not they had. I probably never would. I would most likely never see him again.
I had been so good at walking away all those years ago. Now it was time to do it again. It was not good to live in the past all the time. I was going to put away my photograph. I was not going to look back again. I couldn't hold back a few tears as I put the photo away gently in the drawer of my used desk. It was time to move on with my life.
I'd done this a thousand times before. Like I said, just a typical day.
Okay, maybe this seemed sort of random. But I just thought, to end off the story, I would show you all what became of Katherine Lawrence. And who knows? Maybe another story will stem from this. Want to hear more about Katherine? Let me know. And perhaps I will write more…