Fiction 2015 / Issues / Spring 2015 / Volume 45

Truck — Kirsten Nelson

I remember when they built this mall. It was 1954, and there was a week straight that July

when the temperature wouldn’t fly under 99 degrees, but I can’t remember where I parked my

truck.

I remember buying June a new pair of earrings after the jewelry store opened up. I

brought them home in a small paper bag and left them on the kitchen table, not expecting her to

accidentally spill sugar into the bag when she was preparing supper or the shriek when she

opened the bag and saw the diamonds. She asked me why I bought them and I told her I didn’t

need a reason to spoil my wife. The look on her face suggested that maybe I should have had

one. She rolled her eyes after a moment and kissed me anyway, the way she always did when she

thought I was being stupid.

I remember June’s eyes shining brighter than the diamonds she wore. But I don’t know

where I parked my truck.

I remember buying Christmas ornaments at the Hallmark store with my youngest

daughter the year she had her first child. She picked out one with “Baby’s First Christmas”

engraved on a snowflake. She called me later that week and said that my sweet little

granddaughter tried to eat the ornament I helped her mommy pick out. “That little turd,” I told

her. “She’s taking after you and she’s not even a month old yet.”

There’s supposed to be a vending machine by the shoe store. There should be overpriced

water and Gatorade inside of it, but there isn’t because the damn thing isn’t there.

I wish June were here.

There’s a man standing by a payphone who looks like he could help me find my truck,

but he walks away before I get a chance to ask him for help. Just another one of those guys that

works at the mall and stands around doing pretty much nothing all day. I wish I could’ve had a

job like that before I hit retirement. I didn’t want to ask him anyway. I’ll figure this out

eventually. I will. I will. I will, I will, I will. I have to if I ever want to get out of the mall.

I remember buying flowers for my sister-in-law’s funeral in the floral shop at the other

end of the mall, the end where I know there’s not supposed to be a vending machine. June cried

when she saw the flowers. She told me, “Janice just loved…”

Oh god, what kind of flowers did I get for Janice? I think they were carnations. Maybe

they were lilies. I only remember June crying. I remember buying flowers and I remember her

leaving tear stains on my shoulder.

I keep looking out the windows in the food court from the spot where I am confident the

vending machine is supposed to stand. A father and his son stare at me as they walk by like they

want to know what it is I’m looking for. It’s my damn red truck, now keep walking. My truck is

red.

My truck is red.

My truck…

is…

red?

Isn’t my truck red?

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