Terry stood in the aisle of the grocery store where the cookies lived. Her eyes caressed each of the brightly colored packages.
“You don’t need cookies, fat ass. You need to have your mouth sewn shut so you don’t get any bigger.”
Terry attempted to clear the lump lodged in her throat, as her hand reached towards the cookies wrapped in blue plastic, her hand stopped inches from the package. She didn’t really need cookies. What was that ridiculous saying?
“A minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips.”
Yeah. That was the one.
“And you have enough on those hips as it is. Anymore, and those pants that are barely making it around that immense ass of yours will explode.”
Terry’s hand fell to her side. No cookies then. Robotically she jerked to face her cart and continued down the aisle.
Her head turned neither left nor right until she found herself in the produce aisle holding a bag of baby carrots. Did she even like baby carrots? Sure, they tasted fine coated in Ranch dressing, but could that really be considered healthy? Not to mention when all she wanted was a couple of cookies would she really be able to trick herself into eating carrots like a damn rabbit?
She dropped the bag back on the shelf knowing they would just end up rotten in a drawer in the bottom of her fridge.
“Fat ass.” They seemed to whisper at her back as she walked away.
She turned a corner and knocked into, and nearly toppled, a display of peanut butter, a single jar in the floor.
“Uncoordinated cow, maybe pay attention to what you’re doing next time.”
“Uncoordinated cow, Uncoordinated cow, Uncoordinated cow…” the peanut butter whispered to her as she stooped to pick up the jar.
A throat cleared behind her, “Um, excuse me, dear.”
Terry’s face flamed. She attempted to jump out of the way, and upset the tower or peanut butter again, thankfully it remained upright. “I am so sorry!”
A dainty elderly woman clutching her shopping basket with both hands glided past her with all the grace Terry knew she would never possess.
“It’s quite alright, dear.” The older woman smiled as she passed.
“You are such an inconvenience to others.”
“Inconvenience, inconvenience,” the woman’s heels snapped at her as she proceeded down the aisle.
Terry quickly escaped the aisle, and the presence of the woman, not even noticing she’d placed the peanut butter in her cart instead of back on the display.
The next aisle held trash bags, she remembered she needed those so she sought out her usual brand.
“That’s where you belong you know, in the trash. You useless piece of garbage.”
“Piece of garbage. Trash. Useless. Just throw yourself away.” The boxes chanted at her.
Terry hurled a box into her cart and tried to tune out the voices. What else did she need? She tried to distract herself. Milk! She needed milk, she thought. Damnit she should really start making lists.
“Can’t even grocery shop like an adult. Pathetic.”
“Yep, definitely need milk.” She whispered to herself, as she made her way to the dairy section.
“You had better get skim milk then, less calories to feed that protruding gut of yours.”
“The whole milk she’d been reaching for taunted her. “I’ll feed your protruding gut.” She yanked her hand away as if it had tried to bite her.
“Protruding gut…” the other gallons murmured.
“Shut up!” She hissed. The man looking at the eggs looked at her strangely.
Laughter echoed from the shelf in front of her.
“You’re insane. Psychotic! Talking to yourself. You should be committed.”
Yanking a gallon of skim milk from the shelf she barreled past the confused gentleman.She needed eggs, she remembered.
Screw the eggs.
“Bread. I’ll just get some bread. Bread is safe.” She whispered.
“Oh honey, like you need the carbohydrates.”
The wheels of her cart almost left marks on the floor she stopped so fast.
Lettuce! Lettuce made salads, salads were good. Lettuce. She almost sprinted back to the produce section.
“You look like an idiot. Wandering around the store, talking to yourself.”
Terry started to him to herself. Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb…
Laughter followed her down the aisles.
Finally she made it to the lettuce. Lettuce was safe.
“Honestly? You think you have the self restraint to only eat salads? Who are you kidding? Waste of money.”
“You’re just buying us to throw us away, Terry.” The lettuce cackled.
Oh God, she really was losing it.
“Could’ve told you that sweetheart. You’re batshit. Always have been.”
“Batshit, batshit, batshit.” This from the tomatoes behind her.
Terry’s knuckles whitened as she squeezed the handle to her cart.
“How about some dish detergent for that towering mass of dishes you have been to lazy to do anything about?”
Dish soap. Dish soap was good.
She circled back through the store until she found it.
“Now are you actually going to do the dishes or are you just going to plant that gigantic ass of yours in the crater it has created on your couch?”
Her hands crushed the box of dishwasher tabs she held.
“Just be honest with yourself Terry. You’re a disgusting mess, too lazy to do anything about it.”
She threw the box into the cart when it snickered at her. “Disgusting mess.” She hurried down the aisle when the other boxes began to chime in.
God help her. Nothing was safe.
A thought occurred to her. Ear plugs! That’s what she needed then she could shop in peace. She found some in the small hardware section. She opened them on the spot.
There, silence, much better. She turned to continue shopping.
A low laughter began. It grew in intensity until it was coming from all around her.
“Oh you stupid, stupid, silly girl. You can’t escape me. You can’t get rid of me. I’m a wound that will never heal. I am a scar that will never fade. No matter what you do, no matter where you go. There I will be.”
“Stupid, stupid, stupid, girl.” The aisles were alive with whispers.
Tears ran down her face as she stood completely frozen in place.
“Where are you going to go sweetheart? No matter what you do , you’ll always be you, an undesirable, clumsy, fool. Forever alone.”
“Alone and unwanted.” The voices hissed.
Terry began to shake her head. Whipping her hair from left to right. “No, no, no, no, no! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
“Not going to happen Terry. No matter what combination of groceries or junk you put in your cart I’ll always be here to remind you of who you truly are.”
“Then screw it. I should have just grabbed the damn cookies in the beginning then.”
She abandoned her cart, marched to the cookie aisle, snatched two packages off the shelf, headed to the dairy section grabbed a gallon of whole milk, and when she passed the wine she grabbed a bottle on instinct. Finally she went to check out.
“Fat ass! Fat ass! Fat ass!” The store erupted around her.
“I’m a fat ass if I buy cookies. I’m a fat ass if I buy lettuce. So I am buying the damn cookies.” She handed cash to the very concerned looking cashier, and forced a smile, which did not seem to put the poor girl more at ease. Terry shrugged, grabbed her bags and left the store.
Cookies for dinner, things could be worse.