Aunt Cynthia by Marley Dowell

Going to the grocery store isn’t a fun thing to do. Especially for two thirteen year old girls. My cousin, Hynnja, and I though are always having fun, no matter where we are. We could be at Church, or even the principal’s office at school, and we would be laughing at something.

Our Aunt Cynthia lives in Charlestown. She commonly comes up to visit us every two months. She has a son named Laiken, and she spoils him, my cousins, my siblings, and I to death. When she comes to visit us, she would take us into town and let us get some treat.

One visit, Aunt Cynthia wanted to go to Food Lion to get ingredients for something my other aunt was making for dinner. The recipe didn’t have a specific name, but it included chicken, cheese, jalapenos, and pinto beans.

Of course Hynnja and I wanted to go with Aunt Cynthia so we could receive something special on the way home. We hopped full of joy into my aunt’s jeep  and began discussing what ice cream we were going to order.

Shortly after, my Aunt climbed into the driver’s seat. She put her cigarette out in the ashtray and turned on the radio. “I’m not gonna be in the store for long.”

Hynnja and I nodded our heads and continued to talk about the ice cream we wanted. I was trying to choose between a banana split and an oreo blizzard. Hynnja always got just a chocolate cone, so there was no trouble in deciding there.

The car ride to Food Lion wasn’t a long one. To pass the time we belted out songs that played on the radio and made faces at the people driving behind us.

Aunt Cynthia parked the jeep, and we hopped out. My aunt gave Hynnja and I instructions. We were to stay in the store while she shopped, but we could walk around and play with things in the meantime.  We happily agreed to follow those instructions.

Our aunt left us at the entrance of the store. Hynnja and I walked around looking for something to do.

“How much food do you think fits in those shopping carts?” I pointed at a middle-aged woman pushing a ton of items.

“I don’t know,” Hynnja replied.

“They’re pretty big.”

“Yeah, you could probably fit a person in those things.”

Hynnja then stopped dead in her tracks. I looked at her and started laughing. “I am not getting in one of those!”

“You might not,” she responded, “but I am.” She turned around and started walking in the opposite direction.

I followed her. “Hynnja, don’t. We’re gonna get in trouble.”

She ignored me and walked to the front of the store. She pulled a cart out of the row and pushed it beside me.

“Help me get in,” she said, trying to put one leg into the cart.

“You’re gonna get in trouble,” I warned again.

“Marley, shut up and help me get in.” She laughed, and I sighed.

“Fine.” I lifted her into the cart with my hands on her butt. She crouched down and tried sitting, but failed.

“Now push me,” she said, smiling. “It’ll be so fun.”

“What? No, you’re crazy.” I felt a tiny bubble of anxiety grow in my chest. Hynnja always had scary ideas. Well, they were always scary to me. I’ve had social anxiety since I was a young girl, and everything terrified me.

“Marley, just push me.” Hynnja seemed to be getting irritated. “You’re being a baby.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m not being a baby. You’re being a baby.”

“Push me!” Hynnja yelled at me. “I’ll let you have a turn!”

As we were arguing, the bubble of anxiety in my chest grew larger. It was so bad, I teared up.

“Please just push me,” Hynnja repeated. “I’ve done this before and I’ve never gotten in trouble for it.”

“Really?” I asked. “When?”

“When I was with my mom or something.”

“Okay,” I said, feeling relieved. “You should have just told me that.”

I began to push the shopping cart down the aisles of the store. I was having a little fun, even with the dirty looks people were giving us.

“Go faster!” Hynnja cheered from inside the cart.

I sped up a little, walking faster. She continued to tell me to go faster. Eventually, I started sprinting down the aisles.

We came around a corner and nearly ran into Aunt Cynthia.

“Hey. be careful,” she said. “I’m gonna go check out and put the groceries in the jeep. I’ll come back in and get you.”

She turned around and left the store. I watched her walk away, and without knowing it, I started sprinting again.

I heard Hynnja yell my name, and I realized that the cart wasn’t moving anymore. I had pushed Hynnja into a shelf of shampoo without even realizing it.

I saw multiple purple and orange bottles laying on the floor. The 6 foot shelf had fallen over, and everybody was staring at us.

Then, the weirdest thing happened. Even with the huge bubble of anxiety about to pop in my chest, I started laughing. I was laughing so hard my cheeks hurt, and I was holding my stomach.

I didn’t notice the chunky woman squatting on the floor picking up the colorful bottles, or the tall man standing beside me with his arms crossed.

My laughter faded away, and I just kind of stood there glancing around. I felt someone walk up to the other side of me. It was Aunt Cynthia.

“What happened?”

“Are these your daughters?” The tall man asked her. The two discussed about Hynnja and I running into the shelf. Hynnja was standing next to the cart, smiling. She was trying to hold in her laughter.

“Your nieces are no longer allowed in this store,” I heard the tall man say. I gasped and looked at Hynnja.

The tall man and my aunt talked for a few more moments, and then my aunt told us we had to go. Walking out of the store. My aunt pushed over a box of Lucky Charms, “screw you,” she said.

One thought on “Aunt Cynthia by Marley Dowell

  1. Oh wow !! I can actually visualize this!! And I can see myself (as a younger girl) along with my more shy girlfriend getting into similar situations !! 🤣 Thanks for the smiles !!


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