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Contents Page: October, 2010, vol 6 no 3

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Carol Pearce-Worthington

I have to go to the bathroom

Why didn’t you go before you left home? I did, I tell him. I don’t see why I have to explain but I do, I did I say, but I was drinking tea and I have to go often when I drink tea that’s what happens and besides you’re so slow I didn’t know we were going to dilly-dally. (We walk uptown quarreling. We think we’re going in the right direction because a loan man at the bank pointed this way or so he says but I have my doubts because my husband is not good on directions. He calls walking south going “uptown.”)He darts into a phone store, comes out while I inspect strawberries (too expensive) at a corner and we resume our walk north (uptown). It’s this way I was right, he declares. Well let’s not dilly-dally I say undercutting his directional coup because I have to go to the bathroom. I always prepare for that he says. I repeat that I did prepare however I drink tea etc. etc., so we quarrel down the escalator in the grocery store to look for a ham though I can see at once there are no whole hams on the lower level only tiny gourmet items at high prices and a deli counter with a black man so tall behind it his neatly carved afro grazes the ceiling. My husband dilly-dallies over the seafood display. He loves crab cakes made commercially which I claim are just breadcrumbs and he equally insists that he loves them anyway so I urge him to hurry and he urges me to inquire about a ladies room. The only woman worker in sight exits through an official door but the tallest man in the world comes by so I ask him and he says sure, so while my husband dilly dallies over the cake display, I trip around the lunch meat in a deli counter behind the man moving giraffe-like and when I hesitate he says follow me so I briefly wonder if I am being lured into some kind of sadistic ritual area from which I may never escape but I keep walking out of necessity and hope and through a back door into an area of meat grinders and folks in white aprons and boxes and more doors and around corners and in a crowded section of dead ducks hanging upside down the tall man gestures go there and to the right so I do and no lock on the door but I don’t think this is a ritual spot after all because there are authentic paper towels and a bottle of squirt soap. The karim jumar of the oyster deli world waits by the ducks to lead me back out of the labyrinth really a very nice fellow and I find my husband lingering nostalgically near the seaweed rice crackers. Since I don’t have to think of rushing home now he insists on visiting two more stores until his head sweats and I gradually speed my pace so he won’t chastise me once again for not preparing before I leave the house the way he does.  And I in the interests of peace and not wishing to rile him up do not repeat the term dilly-dally because we are heading in the right direction (south) toward home.

saturday food shopping—
pigeons fight
over a bagel

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crane