The Man in Walgreen's
by Dale Boyer

Standing there as gorgeous as a man can be,
the man I'd seen so many mornings on the train
dressed up in business suits and starched white shirts
now wearing crumpled tennis shorts, a sweaty Harvard t-shirt,
stopping off to buy a few last-minute things
at 9:00 one humid summer evening; glancing for a moment
at a Harper's on the newsstand, unself-consciously
attractive, trim and handsome, with that sort of
gentleness and elegance about him that was so heartbreaking;
I, disconsolately walking through the aisles until
I spotted him, attempting to remember whether there was anything
I was forgetting, trying not to look too obvious
as I concluded quickly I was done, then moving up behind him
in the line; he standing there in front of me
a little to the side (he was afraid he smelled bad,
I could tell, but somehow this consideration made him
even more attractive), swinging absent-mindedly the basket
with his goods. And as he placed it on the counter top,
my mind engaged in various scenarios of introduction
as I watched him prove his bachelorhood: milk (just one
quart), orange juice (again, a little skinny quart),
6 eggs, a loaf of light rye bread, and lastly,
crushingly, the Tampax for his girlfriend. Maybe
there is nothing so unusual in this -- perhaps you'd call it
just another case of someone being unavailable; to me, it is the essence of America.

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