She was not exactly a coupon queen but she had aspirations. She favored teal and uplifting quotes and rice pudding. Love had not knocked on her door, either softly or with a great pounding and she’d told herself she’d made peace with that, although it was a lie and all self-lies, of course, wear shoddy disguises. Thursdays, she bagged groceries at the food bank, wearing a pasted-on smile and breathing shallowly. ‘We are all one step away from ____’ was a phrase she used often. Never was the phrase completed with words such as ‘wealth’ or ‘happiness.’ Anyone who fell into those categories was in no need of consolation. Although she had never had a full-fledged panic attack requiring a call to 911, she was intimate with anxiety, and she’d come to realize that breathing into a paper bag as a calming tool was an urban myth, besides, paper bags now cost – ¢.03, ¢.05, ¢.10. The worse anxiety came in late afternoon, something about the dimming. Shopping generated anxiety which was a touch ironic considering her fondness for coupons. But this was manageable as long as she spent no more than 30 minutes in a mall and did not linger in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.
Mercedes Lawry has had short fiction published in several journals including: Gravel, Dying Goose, Cleaver and Newer York. For many years, she has had poetry published in journals such as Poetry, Nimrod, Superstition, Prairie Schooner and others. Additionally, she has published stories and poems for children.