I know her face but forget her name; she works out at the same gym, sometimes beside me. Different in life clothes, hair down she’s almost attractive. She takes the other, longer line reserved for big ticket items and cash.

“I hear you crossed over to the dark side,” she says, arms full of packages tied up with string.

I laugh. “I didn’t want to but I had to.”

“We miss you, that’s for sure.”

“Yeah, I miss you guys too.”

Some man behind me huffs. I take two steps forward and then one more for good luck.

“Think you’ll ever come back?”

“Maybe. It all depends on the price.”

“Forty dollars is a lot these days.”

“You’re telling me.”

Some lady behind me giggles. I turn around into sagging skin, eyes void of brightness, eyebrows full of gray.

“What’s the dark side?” she whispers, leaning forward.

“Anything you want it to be.”

She giggles, and for a moment I feel free.

Samuel Cole
The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
Gail Tsukiyama