Jessica Goes Shopping


The cashier at Nordstrom is smartly dressed for a woman in her fifties, but her two-piece Donna Karan pants suit would look better on her, thinks Jessica. The cashier pulls away the receipt as Jessica clicks closed her ballpoint, compares it to the scribble on the back of the Chase Manhattan Visa, then hands back the card.

“Such a pretty name,” says the cashier, smiling, “Rosemary… my cousin’s named Rosemary.” Jessica nods. “Not such a common name for a girl your age anymore.”

“No it’s not. I love it though — it was my grandmother’s name, and now it’s mine.”

“How sweet,” says the cashier as she uses a tool to remove an anti-theft tag.

“Everyone’s a Jessica or a Katie or a Sarah now,” says Jessica as the cashier adds her selections into the bag. “I’m the only Rosemary I know.”

The cashier hands Jessica the parchment-yellow bag of cashmere sweaters. Smiling, she “Would you like the receipt in the bag or do you want it for your purse, sweetie?”

“I’ll take it,” says Jessica as she plucks the slip paper from the cashier.

Jessica folds the slip twice over with her left hand as she walks past the “Misses” section and toward the archway where the white marble tiles of Nordstrom meet the sand-colored squares of the mall. As she approaches the entryway she veers toward a terra cotta trash bin, tossing the square of paper in with the Starbuck’s coffee cups and Taco Bell wraps as she passes.

She walks past I Can’t Believe It’s Not Yogurt, past Sam Goody, and looks up at her three favorite words: Saks Fifth Avenue. She grins at the yard-tall backlit letters then bounces toward the shoe department.

Filed under Fiction on July 25th, 2003