Empty Shelves

By ktlynhagan 05/14/19
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There is something about empty shelves in a store that send a shiver down my spine today.This is a sight that a regular consumer would not flinch at or even invest an extra thought or emotion into. For me it is the most obscure visual representation of pure emptiness which strikes a nerve within me.I wish I could not relate to an empty store shelf.

I remember after one of my many last ‘at-home-remedy-rehab-get-clean-come-down’ stints that I realized I was hungry – opened an always empty fridge, thought long and hard if I was actually hungry enough and felt well enough to commit to leave the house.I decided that I was and walked to the corner store that I always walked to for everything. I walked in and it appeared as thought the world had ended while I was coming back to life. All the shelves were bare the remnants had red stickers on them and everything was just empty and eerie. It looked like a movie set, like one item pushed all the way to the front of the shelf to appear as though it was full from a certain camera angle. I honestly thought maybe I had missed something on the news. Was there something I should have been prepping for? Was there a hurricane coming? Did it already come? What did I miss? I proceed to grab a jar of salsa, chips, pickles, a single hardboiled egg, and a bottle of red wine. I go up to pay and ask if they were closing.

“Yeah, every-night like usual at 11pm…” stating the obvious, because I had been there numerous times at 10:59pm.

“No, like closing-- like out of business?”

He looked at me like I was insane.

“What do you mean?” he said a little sternly.

“Well where is everything?”

“What do you mean, this is everything,” he replied actually sternly.

I decided to drop it. I felt like I was on the verge of an accidentally offensive conversation that I had zero desire to be in, so I just paid without any further words.

When I walked out, heard the bell behind me I looked back in once more. I realized it always looked like that, I just never was awake nor hungry. It scared me how awake I was in that moment and how I had thought I slept through the apocalypse.That environment would have convinced anyone they had slept through the end of the world. It was a moment of clarity that didn’t last long but none the less it was a moment of clarity I wouldn’t forget, and I decided I should maybe get updated on the news. I didn’t have a tv, just a tv remote. I hadn’t opened my lap top in days. I was scared to see who I had emailed or what I was doing last on there. It was usually a string of passive aggressive emails to an ex or a colleague or YouTube videos on trances on how to avoid a come down, or emo Tumblr blogs.I just didn’t want to know.What I did know was that I was seeing more clearly, and that store was running low, and so was I. It was empty, and I was an empty shell.


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