You’re Part of This Too

Super 1 was medium size, larger than the markets Bleecker had grown up with but smaller by half than the Safeway in Missoula. A dying breed. Recently, he’d discovered the capacity to be nostalgic for things that were not yet gone and that he actively despised.

The ice machine, firewood, and a lone rack of discount DVDs lined the wall behind the four checkout lanes. Waiting shoppers clogged the store’s arteries: a barge-like woman carefully inspecting the items in her packed cart before setting them on the conveyor, three teenage girls holding identical baskets of Diet Coke and Twizzlers, a buff guy in a tank top joggling on his toes as if he immediately needed to lift something heavy. Bleecker felt dread and a hard little knot of anger. He longed to flee. To push his cart through the doors and run with it, howling, back to his condo. The world was overflowing. The darkness outside seemed to press in on the windows. He’d been in New York City for a funeral the year before, and seemingly every curb had been lined with discarded furniture, electronics, and junk. Even here in Montana the spaces between farms were filling in: trailer parks, junkyards, and big-box stores with parking lots that sprawled across former pastures.

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