The clock is stationed mercifully fifty yards behind her, but she has learned to tell time in new ways. She knows she walked through the industrial-strength sliding doors at ten p.m. and that one a.m. slid past her in a flurry of big-chested women in pajamas with sleeping babies tucked inside their carts and loud-mouthed teenagers high on the freedom of sneaking past their snoring parents to escape into the dark wonder of a twenty-four hour store. She can feel four a.m. approach stealthily with work boots and dark blue coveralls that come with deep, booming voices that call her m'am or don't speak at all. And when six a.m. yells out, she is ready with her purse on her shoulder and a diet soda in her hand.
For now, she is standing in a bright, timeless agony mired somewhere in the middle of her shift. She picks one foot off the floor and stretches it inside her shoes. She rolls her ankle first one way and then the other though the action never soothes the dull throb. She gingerly puts that foot back on the floor and picks up the other one. This time she rolls her head at the same time, closing her eyes briefly and grimacing as she stretches her neck just a tiny bit further until she hears the faint pop.
When she opens her eyes, she sees an elderly man making his way into the aisle. She puts both feet on the floor and pulls her shoulders back to stave off the hurt. As the man piles dog food and ice cream onto the belt, she prepares to pick up each item and slide it across the scanner.
This post was written for the (W)rite of Passage challenge created by Mrs. Flinger. The challenge is designed to inspire bloggers to write, to hone their craft and tell better stories, rather than to chase page views and followers. The challenge is open to anyone, so join if it speaks to you!