Alexandra Tanner

My sister bags groceries part-time. Produce with produce, bathroom things with bathroom things. She encourages customers to go with paper bags instead of plastic ones. My sister is environmentally conscious and also nostalgic: “Doesnít it make you feel like an old-timey big-city career girl, carrying parcels up your stoop, struggling to unlock your door, when a handsome stranger in a suit comes up outta nowhere and offers to lend a hand, and there are neighbor-dogs yipping in the background, and itís raining, and you drop a bag and tomatoes spill into the street—”.

My sister spins stories and is stubborn. At home, she drops herself cross-armed on couches; at work, she argues with her grocery boss over personal days: “Iím in high school, what do you want from me? I have a test in two days on the Cold War.”

My sister, though temperamental, will never get fired because she is the greatest grocery girl in the store. I know; Iíve seen her in action. I was curious about her work, and asked if I could visit. “No way,” she said with a sneer. “Youíd distract me, Iíd get in trouble, my boss would think Iím sweethearting. Thereís this whole work culture.”

But because sheís my sister and I donít have to listen to her, I pushed my cart through her checkout line anyway, pretending not to know her while she pretended not to know me. “Do you need some help outside,” she asked, and I said, “No, Iím all right,” and her face fell but I slipped a dollar into her apron for her hypothetical help. I could hear the reply wrenching from her little bow lips, “Um, weíre not allowed tips...”. She is the most honest grocery girl in the grocery—but I walked away, and, as I did, tugged her ponytail so quickly it couldíve been an accident.

Alexandra Tanner is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida. She is an aspiring playwright who daydreams of at-will time travel and adventure on the high seas. This is her first publication.

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