The Glossy Shopping Bag


She hurried up the avenue looking for shelter. The rain, now biblical in intensity, was filling the glossy bag. Her clothes were soaked, but they’d dry. The bag, advertising a Madison Avenue shop in rigid plasticized tag was all that she had left of her image of consumer prowess. The shiny bag with the cotton cord handles represented her dream life which her earnings could not support. She had kept it crisp and undamaged through the weeks of her homelessness, folding it flat as she slept on the F train. When the rain accumulated was a pint even, the handles and the bottom seams simultaneously failed. The city papers, her clean underwear and a water bottle fell to the sidewalk. Her homelessness was laid bare to the doorman who helped her pick up the items. He got her a Gristedes’ bag, helped her organize her belongings, then asked her to move from under the Park Avenue awning he was bound to protect.


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