Johnny America


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

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