We Rise Up

The mirror is hard to avoid. It’s screwed to the wall right in front of my cash register. When customers come out of the dressing room they only need to pirouette to their left to see themselves in the bright light of the charity shop. I only need to look up. I’m not aware of any shops like this in America—the closest is probably Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But this shop looks almost classy. It’s like a boutique, with its hardwood floors and neat racks of clothes sorted by color, and all the proceeds go toward abused kids. I volunteer here, ringing up customers and catching my bored reflection over and over again. And like everyone else in Ireland, I can’t find a job. My husband and I split his welfare check every week, buy a small sack of groceries, and sleep on friends’ couches. It’s been like this for a year now, and I can’t help feeling my husband picked a bad time to be homesick. So I tell myself it’s an adventure. All artists start out poor and in Europe.

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