An empty, plastic Lysol Wipes canister lies sideways on the floor of the Walmart entrance. I grab the cart—the one with the wobbly wheel and a pair of inside-out, blue latex gloves in its guts. There’s no greeter today. Masks, and bandannas cover faces, but not fearful eyes. We’re all trying to stay six feet apart, not six feet under.
It feels like I’ve been holding my breath, but I feel it coming on, coming out. My primitive lizard brain wants to take over. Wants to stock up on guns, ammo and liquor. It wants to blow some shit up. It’s trying not to freak frigging out. The lizard wants to smoke a cigarette, eat Cheetos, Doritos gobble up Blue Bell ice cream.
What is necessity? Beans, rice, canned goods? Apocalyptic poetry? There’s no frozen pizza in the isolated freezers. And I guess I’ll have to use baby wipes, on this old butt instead of toilet paper. I need a hug, need to laugh, or die. Instead, I gather the produce: I pick a lemon up like it’s a grenade, hold a cluster of bananas like a wadded up dirty diaper.
I try to pretend I’m interested in chocolate bunnies, not the two men blocking the aisle saying, “It’s up to Jesus and our president now,” and, “ I hear the virus is man made.” Nothing like going through a pandemic in the deep south. At least it’s colorful here, and the food’s good. Bless our little hearts.
The Easter lilies are over-stocked and on sale. They’re shrouded in plastic, like they’re wearing masks too. Lilies make me think of funerals and of Easter’s past, of Sunday school in my new dress, egg hunts when my children were young, of spring, of possibility. I once learned these “white-robed apostles of hope” represent the purity of Christ, and the way they transform from bulb to plant each year symbolizes Christ’s resurrection. I once read, that in Ireland they were worn to commemorate those who died in the war of the Easter Rising in 1916.
Hope. Resurrection. War. I plop one down in my cart.
Near the register, I stand on my piece of tape behind a young man in shorts with muscular calves; he’s wearing an old military gas mask and his cart is heaping full of beer and wine: “Ma’am, you can go on ahead of me now since all you got is that there flower.”