Cocktail Hour in the Produce Aisle

Cocktail Hour in the Produce Aisle
“It’s way too fancy,” I told my husband. “I’d be overdressed.” My new outfit is a beauty — white and lacy, perfect for a summer cocktail party, but too much for a school function on a Tuesday evening. In the back of my head, though, I heard my friend’s voice. Wear it anyway, she whispered. You never know when you’ll get another chance.  The last time I saw Shalean, I was bloated from chemo drugs, and both of us wondered if it would be the last time we’d see each other. My prognosis was bad, and cancer treatment side effects threatened my life twice early into my journey. It was unspoken, but we both knew I might not make it. Years earlier, when we lived across the street from each other and cancer was a thing that other people had, Shalean had given me the same advice, in person, about a different dress. “Wear it to Bruno’s,” she told me. “It’s better to wear it to Bruno’s than never to wear it at all.” Shalean had a point. Our town of 900 people didn’t host a lot of formal events or cocktail parties. The chamber of commerce held its annual Kiss-a-Pig fundraiser, but otherwise, things were pretty casual. I held the shimmery green fabric next to my skin, its cool silkiness and opulent color making me feel like a supermodel. Then I pictured myself at Bruno’s, our local grocer, pushing a shopping cart full of bargains down the toilet paper aisle and hoping someone else’s kids didn’t hug me spontaneously with potato c
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