Monday, March 15, 2021


The sales floor finally slows down to a few half-hearted shoppers absent-mindedly re-arranging the displays, the adrenaline wears off, and the full weight of a busy, understaffed day hits me. I grab a few boxes of shoes and head down the escalator to the stock room while the disco-pop hybrid they play continues to thump and wail in the overhead speakers.

Outside the stockroom at a register, a woman waits with her tall, white poodle, both of them waiting for an associate to check her out, and I sidle up, asking to greet her dog.

The dog ignores his owners assent and my outstretched hand, and immediately comes in close to spoon me, burying his muzzle into my thigh, and stands very still while I feel a life bar over my heart fill like a power-up in a video game.

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