The Cart

Whose life story did it tell? And how did it become their story? It didn’t begin that way, with a shopping cart full of garbage and drug paraphernalia parked in the unpaved alley behind my apartment. Parked next to the dumpster, with wads of trash and a small cardboard box containing a disassembled pink plastic item still in the cart.

It’s the windy season. If I didn’t do something, this stuff would soon be flying down the alley and getting snagged on cacti. I put on gloves and emptied the cart, aware that I was throwing away things that someone, for some reason, had hung onto. Someone I never see or hear, yet who lives in my town. Someone who hoards peculiar items and uses meth. No matter where their story started, to reach this point, it was a long way down.

I walked the cart to the grocery store and advised the customer service person that it ought to be cleaned, but by the time we got out the back door to where I’d left it , it had already been taken. A shopper was probably pushing it through the store, putting their groceries in it.

I’d like to imagine that whoever left the cart in the alley is getting help, but I’ll never know. Though I’ve tried to come up with an ending for this story, there isn’t one. I passed through the middle of it.

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