It’s gone.

Tonight, the inventory’s done. The few boxes of Mom’s things are sitting on the checkout counter, ready to be carried home. I went over to get a jar of lemonade, and I forgot my keys. I went to the house to get a spare from mom, and I realized that this is what it’s going to be like. The store’s closed now. Go away now. It’s not yours now. If you want something, we’ll be open in the morning, now. Goodnight, now.

Carrie proposed to me in the back room there. We lived in the back room when we first arrived in Ridgway, our little stove and a cot in there. Tonight we just held each other and cried. The familiar jingle of juice-jars rattled as we walked down the aisle to the back. My mom’s neat handwriting on index cards hanging from the shelves. “Suntime is Fun time. Remember the sunscreen” reads a sign. “Cucumbers” reads another. “Celery”, “Colorado Peaches”, “Fuji”, “Braeburn”, “Gala”, “Pink Lady”. It seems like a fantasy land, a little oasis of simplicity and honesty. The prices were always reasonable, just enough to get by. She wasn’t in it to get rich.

I feel like I’m losing the best parts of my mother. It’s there that I saw her smile, always friendly to everyone who walked in. Her neat arrangements, everything orderly and pleasant and nice.

I feel betrayed.