Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thin Edge

Did you find what you want?
            “What?” Harry jerked awake. “Excuse me. What?”
            “Sir, are you finding what you need?”
            “Trying to,” Harry said and laughed a self-deprecating laugh. “I’m certainly looking.”
            The clerk stood poised to help, waiting, Harry realized, for him to tell her what he was looking for. Which was the hell of it. He didn’t know. You could ask—or answer—that question on so many levels. He looked at her, actually met her eyes—deep brown eyes, widely spaced, red lips, light brown face, spoke with an accent of some sort. She was waiting, trained to be helpful, welcoming, and patient. What was he looking for?
            “Razor blades,” he said.
            “Aisle 4,” she said and smiles of relief spread over both their faces.
            “Aisle 4,” he said. “Right.”
            She was pointing the way, delicate hand, no nail polish, to Aisle 4 with its wide assortment of razor blades. Must be what he wanted. What he needed. His hand stroked his chin. Rough. Yes, definitely what he needed. Reassuring to them both. She smiled, turned to go, he bobbed his head and turned towards Aisle 4. Where he knew he would stand gazing at all the choices, the brands, the types of blade, the colors, the price, the per unit cost. Probably stand there, asleep standing up, until brown eyes or her equivalent showed up.
            Did you find what you want?
            “No,” he could say. “No, not yet, but I’m looking.” The truth. Better than nodding obsequiously, grabbing a handy packet of disposable razors and leaving.
            But he knew himself. Knew he’d have another packet of disposable razors to add to the stack at home.
            Did you find what you want?
            Easy question. No answer.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

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