Old Women at the Check-out Counter

They are afraid, of course: boots and helmet mean motorcycle, mean young—and alien; so they pick and pull at their worn sweaters, and rustle among themselves of T.V. shows, the high price of lunch meat on a pension, the shuffleboard scores in their condominium. But still they peep at me and what I’ve bought: the razor blades, the metal polish, the beer. I move to leave, having many things to do, and now eager to do them now, but one speaks up to me and stops me, wondering, until she quavers out “You forgot your stamps.”— her arm jerking randomly—“They’re good to save.” I leave them as some kind of gift and leave.

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