Baudette, MN – October 21, 2013
Three blocks of cheese. Packages of smoked sausage. Two cans of chili. Three condensed soups. Shell pasta. Ten ounces of sliced turkey. Twelve bread buns. Oatmeal. Dried cranberries. Shredded coconut. Three bags of granola. Two pounds of trail mix. One jar of peanut butter. A can of corned beef hash. A bag of Jelly beans. Two bags of ginger snaps.
I stand in the Baudette grocery for two hours. I pick up a dozen things and put them back. I wander down aisles, turn, and wander back up them. I stare at shelves. I reach out. I reach back. I hold packages in my hand and drop them back on the shelf. I smile and frown.
Employees ask if they can help me find anything. I tell them I’m just wandering. I stare in my half full basket. I feel the weight. I try to imagine every night. I count. Four days. Five. Eight. I don’t know. I add to my basket. I take things out. I stand and stare at shelves.
I remind myself it will be cold. I tell myself to get good food because this is the last time I will walk through a grocery store on this trip and these are the last meals. I’m going to eat something in the basket the morning I wake up and paddle to the end.
I stand and stare at the aisles. I decide not to get complicated. I add blocks of cheese. I take out milk and cereal. I put back a packet of steaks. I look at shelves staked with cookies for five minutes and pick up nothing.
I know what I want. I know it isn’t on grocery shelves. I look anyway. I search in the candy aisle and behind jars of peanut butter. I grab a bag potato chips and put them back.
I linger because I know it’s the last time.