Off Course

“I’ll never be able to talk about this,” thought Misty.

She was right, of course. There would never be an appropriate time to reveal that her love for the boy was only in theory,  not at all in practice.

Lost in the mall maze, Misty absentmindedly turned left into a department store. She wobbled through aisle upon aisle, glancing at the different styles of yarn deftly wadded into the varying sizes of ladies’ legs and torsos. She wasn’t looking for anything particular, just giving her body something to do as her brain puzzled irreversible things.

Misty’s eyes scanned  the racks, mechanically, viewing line-by-line the suggested coverings for women her age. She was twenty years old, though no longer the right shape, it appeared.

This much was clear to the teenage sales girl who approached Misty, offering assistance in the form of directions to the maternity section.

“This isn’t permanent,” Misty snapped.

The girl frowned a little, then gave a nod and returned to folding tank tops.

“It’ll pass.”

She was right, of course. Pregnancy would pass, though prolonged conditions always leave their mark. The boy would be forever.

Misty walked slowly to the children’s clothing and began rifling through outfits. She picked up a blue shirt and a pair of green shorts attached to the same small hanger. She stared at the drawing on the tiny shirt: a tiger riding proud on a surfboard. “A novel thing,” Misty thought with a sigh. She shook the hanger back and forth and watched the clothes swish like holey dishrags.

Settled on the tiger, she made her way to the nearest register and took her place behind a woman who was paying for a pink sun dress and white shoes. Misty looked from the items on the counter to the outfit in her hand. The tiger grinned behind sunglasses, enjoying the crest of his wave.

“Miss?” came a voice from behind the counter. “Miss? Are you ready to check-out?”

Misty looked up, startled, her hands then empty. She shook her head and took two steps backward.

“No,” she said, “This isn’t what I wanted.”

She was right, of course. But her wave broke all the same.

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