• Stephanie Lee Bourgeois

CVS: The Inconvenience Store

Updated: Apr 24

I wish that I could drink like I used to in my twenties. Sucking down whiskey shots, lapping up Scooby snacks, burning my hair as I lean in for a flaming Dr. Pepper with my hands gripped tightly behind my back and funneling every buttery yellow ice-cold brew in sight. Swinging from the rafters with my friends rooting for me from below and my dignity stuffed snuggly in my pants back pocket.

But I’m too old to handle the hang over. For the shame of wearing sunglasses inside CVS, searching wobbly for the infant isle where the Pedialyte lives, proves to be the most depressing part of my booze-soaked, mid-thirties morning.

As I meander past the cotton balls and laundry detergent, passing ever so unsteadily around the mouthwash and vagisil, a mother with her newborn cozy in his stroller staggers down the baby isle. Her stares are like daggers toward me. “Thank god I’m not like that anymore” she thinks, as she stabs me with eye swords of pity. Her dirty looks slash through me like a samurai sword dripping with derision.

I turn to the shelves of glory. As I reach my trembling hand with vibrating fingers towards the magic juice that will bring me back to life, I glance at the baby. In an instant, I am a child again. At 35, I am relying on the same apple flavored concoction as a slobbering milk-guzzler to save me from dehydration - or worse.

We share a second's worth of wisdom and in the blink of an eye, we are one. And the baby feels my pain. For in a few decades, he will know what it feels like to traipse the florescent isles of inconvenience, up and down the cold half hallways with your coattails unridden and dragging far past your ankles.

Drab and bleak.

I grab the wizard’s drink, pay the lady at the counter and scurry back to my overpriced Chicago hole.

Empty and Dark.

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