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Checkouts short story

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“Checkouts” by Cynthia Rylant Her parents had moved her to Cincinnati, to a large house with beveled glass windows and several porches and the history her mother liked to emphasize. You’ll love the house, they said. You’ll be lonely at first, they admitted, but you’re so nice you’ll make friends fast. And as an impulse tore at her to lie on the floor, to hold to their ankles and tell them she felt she was dying, to offer anything, anything at all, so they might allow her to finish growing up in the town of her childhood, they firmed their mouths and spoke from their chests and they said, It’s decided.
They moved her to Cincinnati, where for a month she spent the greater part of every day in a room of beveled glass windows,
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And the tattered brown shoes he wore with no socks. And the left side of his collar turned in rather than out.
The bag boy seemed a wonderful contrast to the perfectly beautiful house she had been forced

to accept as her home, to the history she hated, to the loneliness she had become used to, and she couldn’t wait to come back for more of his awkwardness and dishevelment.
Incredibly, it was another four weeks before they saw each other again. As fate would have it, her visits to the supermarket never coincided with his schedule to bag. Each time she went to the store, her eyes scanned the checkouts at once, her heart in her mouth. And each hour he worked, the bag boy kept one eye on the door, watching for the red­haired girl with the big orange bow.
Yet in their disappointment these weeks there was a kind of ecstasy. It is reason enough to be alive, the hope you may see again some face which has meant something to you. The anticipation of meeting the bag boy eased the girl’s painful transition into her new and jarring life in Cincinnati. It provided for her an anchor amid all that was impersonal and unfamiliar, and she spent less time on thoughts of what she had left behind as she concentrated on what might lie ahead. And for the boy, the long and often tedious hours at the supermarket which provided no challenge other than that of showing up for the following workday…these hours became
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