Unexpected Luxury

My mother first discovered Wal-Mart long after she had passed through the customary garage-sale rummaging phase of recent immigrants.

One weekend when I was home from college she showed off her new bedspread—just the right shade of green, the one she had been looking for to match the heavy new drapes. I gave some show of noncommittal approval, and she suddenly admitted, “Do you know where I bought it? Wal-Mart. Is that really bad?”

It had taken her three decades to get this American Dream.  


Between The Bottles

Maybe you can tell a lot about a person by the type of shampoo they buy. The girl with the waves wouldn’t try smooth and shine goo unless she thought her hair was breaking the rules. Just peek in her bathroom cabinets to uncover the bottles of self-perceived deficits lined up on a shelf. I have blackheads-cellulite-wrinkles-pimples that I must remove-smooth-erase-pop.

When I was less than double-digits years old, I would choose the kids’ shampoo for curly hair. Besides the fact that it had the best scent of the whole collection (watermelon), I truly believed that once I used it all up, I would emerge from the shower with perfect ringlets.

Sunday Blues

I left the house for the first time that cloudy day in the evening. Just to walk. Just to move and get unstuck from the same place. I crossed the abandoned construction site, sneakers crunching on dried mud, my eyes thirsty for any view of the river ahead. The sky was dense with the power of mood-changing muscle. What is it about Sunday nights that always gets me? Those Sunday Blues.