Proper Support

A cashier at her register in a grocery store i...

A cashier at her register in a grocery store in Panama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Simone steps back behind her cash register in the grocery store. The break was too short, and the lines are too long, but what else is she going to do? Her two youngest are still in high school and their fathers think child support is just a suggestion and not an obligation. Why shouldn’t they? That’s how the court acts. The last time she got a payment from Jimmy was thirty-five dollars five months ago. At least she was able to buy some school supplies for the kids, because the school sure as hell doesn’t provide them.




She pushes it all down as far as she can, not thinking about it too much so she can smile for the customers. Mustn’t let them know you are a human being with pain and worries just like them. Mustn’t let them see the hurt that shoots up your legs and back from arches that fell somewhere between your first and second child. They may not like that, and you wouldn’t want to make their shopping experience anything less than stellar.




Simone isn’t bitter, not really. She could have it so much worse and she knows it. Two jobs may be a hassle, but they let her rent a slightly run-down house in a small town rather than end up in a complete shit pit of a tenement in the city. It keeps her in a district where maybe her kids have half a chance, though not being from the right family sometimes costs them dearly.  Besides Devon, her oldest, helps by sending some of his Army check home.




The hours drag by in a dull haze and after a while Simone forgets about her aching feet. There’s just no time to think about them. She will remember later, at the end of her shift. Her ankles, knees, and toes will remind her that she is not young and thin like the kids she works with. They will scream bloody murder until she pours her G+T (and at one a night, if you want to judge her you can get bent) and uses it to wash down some ibuprofen.




For not she just plugs away. What else is there to do? There are bills to pay and mouths to feed. So all she can do is stay on her feet that little bit longer, and pray they hold out.







2 thoughts on “Proper Support

    • Thank you for the kind words Laure, but this is a work of fiction. While I HAVE had my struggles with the system, this hasn’t been one of them, I have no kids. My flash fiction is, among other things, an exercise in empathy.

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