Eight Days Later

I don’t worry, but eight days later the thought crosses my mind, much in the way that it occurs to me to tell my mother that we’ve run out of toilet paper in the bathroom, or that I’d like to try a different breakfast cereal. It is nine p.m., an hour before the pharmacy closes. I creak open the door to my room just slightly and peer through the slit, and can see light glowing from underneath my mother’s room. I slip quietly out the front door and walk twenty minutes, one mile, to the closest drugstore.

This is the first time I have shook. Of all times, it is now. I don’t know why, but I already know the answer.

Now it’s dark enough for the streetlights, but they don’t help enough.

I buy the test on sale. It is a name brand, which seems like the right decision to make in a moment like this. I’ve brought a poetry book with me, and I slip the box off the shelf and try obscure it between the pages. It’s too big, and my plan doesn’t work.

They are cleaning up already. They should be. It’s time to close. I step over a broom leaning across the aisle and walk to the register.

Pay cash.

Walk a mile home.

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