Thursday, August 31, 2006

“I would like to make an exchange.”

The cashier stopped filing her nails for a moment to
look at the young boy standing across from her.

“This is Customer Service. Exchanges and Returns are
back there.” She jerked her thumb in the general
direction of her left side and quickly returned to
her nails.

The boy glanced towards the dimly lit, seemingly empty
corridor, and sighed. He stood unmoving and quiet,
staring straight at her with an unwavering gaze, the
only sign of nervousness his shifting arms. A girl
stood next to him. No more than 14 years old, she was
clad in a red flowered sundress with her eyes downcast.

“There is no one there, ma’am. This is a matter of
Service, anyway,” he said, looking at the girl beside

Putting down the file, the cashier smiled at him and
asked him what was wrong with his initial purchase.

“Too young,” he replied.

“An older one will cost more.”

“I know.”

“I’ll be right back,” she told him.

The woman got up from her seat. She unlocked the
cubicle door and took the girl by the wrist, pulling
her away from the boy and into a back room. The girl
turned her head to look at the boy, her eyes raised,
silent and empty. But he didn’t notice her.

It was just another day.

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