Day of Broccoli

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic


This is a poem about a person unhappy about their life and unwilling to do anything to change their circumstances.

Submitted: March 25, 2018

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Submitted: March 25, 2018

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It was a dreary and rainy evening in a small town in Mississippi. The town was so inferior in the quintessential picture that was my existence that it isn’t necessary to name the town.  It started as any other normal day. The blare of an alarm, intentionally set to rouse, woke me. I cursed aloud at the imbecile who forced this upon me before realizing the villain I was cursing was none other than myself. It was time to wake and face the absolute mundane reality that was my life.

I would get up and take a shower that took precisely eleven minutes and thirty-four seconds, yes I timed it. I would get dressed in a pair of ill-fitting khakis, a god awful orange shirt that encompassed me nearly reaching my knees and a beige smock that tried so hard to pull my outfit together but failed miserably, only managing to make it worse. I would head down the claustrophobic hallway to an underwhelming kitchen to choke down a slice of dry brown bread with the slightest bit of margarine as I hoped that this one time my cup of orange juice would make it more tolerable, it didn’t. It never did.

I would then proceed to walk two blocks to a bus stop where a decrepit bus would stop, seemingly protesting the entire time before consuming me. I rode that bus every day but was always shocked at the fact that it could start again to continue on its journey. I felt as if the bus belonged in an ancient museum that no one really cared about. Possibly it was its own sentient being and none of us realized it, that thought only led me to believe it deserved to be in a museum even more. It had lived a long life and finally deserved to be left alone and ogled from a distance like we will all be graciously granted one day. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, I always ended up sitting beside an elderly man, as decrepit as the bus itself, who smelled of a poignant mixture of rotten eggs and desperation. It wasn’t so bad after all, it was only ten blocks of holding my breath. In the seemingly never-ending timeline that is my life, what is ten block really?

Just when I thought I couldn’t stand holding my breath for another second I finally reach my stop. I walked fifty paces to the entrance of a rundown grocery store. The entrance a foreboding of better times past. The best days behind it, never to be found again. As I walked into the doors I was assaulted by the smell of sour milk and mold. It could all be in my head, manifested by years of increased loathing but who’s to say? 

The next eight hours of my already melancholy life would be spent standing behind a till as ancient as my town itself. Forced and fake smiles as I urged every somber customer through the line as fast as I could. I never could tell if the customers were actually somber or if that was the effect I had on them but in the grand scheme of things, it did not really matter to me. If I was being frank nothing really mattered to me.

After my eight hours were served I would head back home to an empty apartment to watch pointless television shows on my ancient box television. What I watched was so meaningless I couldn’t even begin to describe to you what I had watched mere minutes after finishing it. Before I knew it I was heading to bed to begin the pointless ritual over again.

Sleep, the blare of an alarm, dry toast and orange juice, an egg and desperation filled bus ride, a foreboding rundown grocery story, pointless television shows and sleep. Over and over again.

Until that day. That day they came through my line at the grocery store. Beaming, so full of life. They told me to have a good day as they smiled at me. A smile so bright it could light up the darkest of rooms. It soon became a ritual. You’d come through my line with the most meager of groceries. A carton of milk, some chicken and tomatoes. On occasion, it would be broccoli instead of tomatoes. I came to know those days as the day of broccoli. Those days were my best days as you seemed most vibrant on those days.

One day of broccoli you told me I should try to smile more genuinely more often. You said nothing is as bad as it seems if you can be genuine in what you do. The next time you came in I smiled at you. An authentic smile, a smile I hadn’t had since my former years. Everything seemed so much brighter as a child and you brought that out in me again. I had thought I had lost that long ago. Not all at once, over a long time in such little pieces that I hadn’t realized it until it was too far lost to redeem.

I went home that night and watched the same programs on the television I normally did but I went to sleep that night with a smile on my face. I woke the next morning to the awful blare of my alarm clock but I didn’t think of myself as a villain. I ate a piece of brown bread, that tasted as if it carried the secrets to life in every grain and drank a cup of orange juice that was so sweet I was almost sure I must have made the juice fresh that morning. I rode the bus to work next to the man who used to smell of rotten eggs and desperation but I didn’t need to hold my breath, I walked into the grocery store but it no longer looked forbidding and the smell of sour milk and mold was replaced by the smell of fresh produce.

It was a day of broccoli even though you got tomatoes and you told me I was glowing. You said I could have lit the darkest of rooms. I rode home on the bus afterwards. I watched a documentary that night about armadillos. Who knew that funny little-armoured mammal could be so interesting? I woke to the sound of an alarm that coddled me into consciousness. I ate a piece of brown toast, hugged by the tastiest raspberry jam and drank a cup of orange juice, freshly squeezed that morning by my own hands. I rode a bus for ten blocks by a man who had worked for forty years as a professor who I could have sworn used to smell of rotten eggs and desperation but now smelt like fresh grass and cinnamon. I walked into a grocery store that seemed to welcome me as an old friend. I spent eight hours standing behind a till helping customers through who seemed elated to see me.

I rode a bus home. I watched the same armadillo documentary I watched the other night, learning even more this time round. I looked out my window hoping to see an armadillo for myself. There were none to be seen but it seemed as if the clouds briefly transformed into armadillos when I peered upon them. It was a beautiful and serene evening in a small town in Mississippi called Jackson. A town so quintessential in the picture that is my eternity it would be a shame not to name it. 


© Copyright 2018 Rebecca Caplette. All rights reserved.

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