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In the White

Shopping and Waiting

By Kendall Defoe Published 16 days ago 7 min read
Top Story - November 2023
In the White
Photo by Oleksii S on Unsplash

Must be a Monday. Monday something-something.

I can't seem to remember the date anymore. Or even why I first came in here. Everything before I walked in seems to be fading out, like my brain is wading through some sort of white-noise swamp. Odd to be in a shopping cart as I save this...

Phone works, but no numbers are on it. Not even the date. No internet, either, but I'm beginning to forget how that works, too. No pictures to remind me of anyone. And since I am forgetting things, I better record all this for whoever finds my cell.

So, this all happened as soon as I walked in. Thing is, I don't really know why I even came in to this supermarket; this particular supermarket. And this is not even my usual stop. For some reason, I decided to stop here instead of the other one near my house. Our house.

Our house. Our home. My wife and child.

Thinking about them now. We lost her a year ago...I think. Tried to have another. Did not work. No chance.

Wait. Milk.

She sent me to get some milk. That was what I remember. She said milk. Maybe eggs. Did not write it all down, but I remember milk.

At least this place was open. It was pretty late and I didn't know their hours. Weekdays and weekends. Monday to...

Monday something...

I picked Monday. Not totally sure. And I could probably pick a month where I could wear shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. That's what I came in wearing and then found the milk. Went to the counter. Waited for someone to come out. And waited. And waited.

No one on a Monday.

Wondered about that. Not a single person in the entire place. Not even a cashier. Stupid me, waiting in line in the express lane with my one item. So, I walked past all the numbers and one. Not one other body.

And I stayed inside. Why? Well, I looked out through the large windows at what was happening outside. People were running away from it, maybe because they were dressed like me.

It was snowing.

Not just snowing. It was a whiteout. I could barely see the sidewalk in front of the place, or the parking lot where I had my car. And I am wearing summer clothes in the middle of it. Why go out?

Now, this next part is the reason why I decided to record this. Someone should know about what happened.

I heard crying.

Put this picture in your head: alone in an abandoned supermarket, a sudden blizzard kicks up, and then you hear crying.

I didn't want to check it out, but just standing around with a carton of milk made no sense. And it got louder as I stood there. So I walked around...

Milk. Snow. A pattern?

Anyway, I found this baby. You will find it next to me in a shopping cart. Someone had brought it in without a stroller and it was just sitting there, crying and gesturing at me. Simple white onesie and nothing else to tell me a thing about who she was (yeah, I checked; thought it needed to be changed). A baby alone in a store during a blizzard. Yeah, it was a Monday. I mean, it 'is'.

'I'm all lost in the supermarket.

I can no longer shop happily.'

Well, I can remember that song. I could not shake it when I entered the produce section and found the baby sitting on top of some cauliflower, sobbing and pointing up.

Milk. Snow. Cauliflower. Am I missing something?

The tears stopped when I picked her up. In fact, she took to me like she had known me her whole short life. Little cute hug. And it is strange as I look at her. She seems very familiar. It feels like we met before and she was always in my life. Stupid, but very...something.

Anyway, I went over to a section that had some toiletries and found some simple towels and other things that were perfect for a baby (wipes, formula, food, talcum powder). No stroller, or course, but the cart seems comfortable enough when I turned it into a portable crib filled with towels and even a few toys. Surprised that they had any in a supermarket.

I did talk about the mental fog, right? I am not going to rewind this thing to check. Honestly, I thought being around the baby would help. But I could not leave her alone, could I? Such a beautiful little girl, maybe seven month? No, eight. Nine? Hard to tell now. She stopped crying when I picked her up (wait, I already said that). And she was not hungry - tried to feed her from a few jars and considered formula; looked at the milk and she would not let it near her lips - or needed to be changed (yeah, I did talk about that). I even got into a cart next to hers just to entertain her. And she smiled, giggling at this complete stranger in the market.

Still have the milk. May as well drink it down if I am going to be stuck here. Strange how I am not hungry, either (how long have I been in here?)

Snow hasn't stopped. I had moved our carts close to the front so that we could see what was happening. She got very excited by this and could not help almost jumping out of the cart. Like she was seeing a performance just for her.

And no one tried to come in. Odd.

Odd baby. Keeps looking at me now. At least it isn't crying at me. Just sitting in the towels and padding.

All that white around me.

'All lost.'

Sorry, I have to end this soon. All that snow and that fog in the head is growing stronger. Cannot concentrate on this. Baby will be fine if I take a short nap. This cart just seems to be getting bigger. So big. Was the baby's cart always bigger than mine? Was the baby (definitely a year old)? And I have milk, towels, rolls, cauliflower - why did I pick that up - and all that snow...

Baby looks so familiar...

'All lost in the supermarket...engulfed in the sand and wind.'

Need to rest for a bit. Will pause it here...

'I can no longer shop happily... Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind...'

By Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash


Thank you for reading!

If you liked this, you can add your Insights, Comment, leave a Heart, Tip, Pledge, or Subscribe. I will appreciate any support you have shown for my work.

You can find more poems, stories, and articles by Kendall Defoe on my Vocal profile. I complain, argue, provoke and create...just like everybody else.

Give it a look...

Short StoryPsychologicalHorror

About the Creator

Kendall Defoe

Teacher, reader, writer, dreamer... I am a college instructor who cannot stop letting his thoughts end up on the page. Very grateful to have found this other opportunity to expose things to the light.


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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (34)

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  • J smith kirkland6 days ago

    "I picked Monday. Not totally sure." My favorite line. Well done.

  • Naveed10 days ago

    Excellent effort! Keep up the superb work—congrats!s

  • Healty Life11 days ago

    i love the way you write, literally you inspire me, can you please read my story and tell me on how i can improve, thanks inadvance

  • Leslie Writes12 days ago

    This story kept me guessing until the end. I felt his confusion in the store. His baby daughter! 😢 Ah, this was so well done! 🤩

  • Harun rashid13 days ago

    This content is very fine,so I love that it was a Challenge story and I didn't realize it. Also love that father and daughter found each other.

  • Judey Kalchik 14 days ago

    I love that it was a Challenge story and I didn't realize it. Also love that father and daughter found each other.

  • Wow

  • AngelBee14 days ago

    This is really good! I have a lot of unanswered questions though...

  • River Joy14 days ago

    Wow that was awesome. Really well done and a great take on the challenge. Congrats on the ts

  • Gerald Holmes14 days ago

    This felt so real! Almost like I was there inside the characters head. Well done and Congrats on Top Story.

  • Caroline Jane14 days ago

    Oooooooooo!!!! I liked this!! Thoroughly gripping. Loved how you kept going back over stuff leaving the reader to make sense of the scene however they wish. The descriptions are perfectly pared back too and really add to the brain fog state of being. Great writing. I was enthralled all the way ... even though I knew what the last line would be!

  • L.C. Schäfer14 days ago

    I feel his confusion, and it just makes it more real

  • An interesting and different take on the challenge. Excellent work

  • Intriguiging. A whiteout of dementia? Congrats on the TS!

  • Cheryl E Preston14 days ago

    Congrats on your top story. Keep up the good work

  • Mr Ahsan14 days ago

    Deserving top story. Congrats keep it up

  • Lamar Wiggins14 days ago

    This was straight out of the twilight zone. Keeps you guessing the wholetime. I loved the confused tone of the MC. He always seemed to be on the cusp of something but not quite there. Very unique. Loved it!!!

  • D. J. Reddall14 days ago

    A dexterous handling of the reverse engineering of the narrative. I found writing toward that last line to be a provocative challenge, and your response to it is quite riveting.

  • Real Poetic14 days ago

    Back to say Congrats! 🎉

  • JBaz14 days ago

    this is wonferdful in such a haunting way. Beuatiful repeating certain items, just like a delerious soul. Congratulations

  • Samuel 14 days ago

    Can I ask you a huge favor my name is Samuel I’m a 3x selling author and blogger I’m about 3,000 more reads away from an opportunity for my article- the person not parent to be featured in parents magazine I would be truly appreciative if you could just read the article for me it’s completely free, and takes maybe 20 seconds- is their any way you could give it a read for me- and help me get one step closer to one of my dreams?

  • Cathy holmes14 days ago

    This is very well done.I really like that I'm just as confused as the character. Maybe the whole story is a mirage and I didn't read it afterall. I have no idea. Is this Monday?

  • Donna Fox (HKB)14 days ago

    This is an intriguing take on the challenge!! I like where you went with this Kendall!! This is engaging and such a thought provoking read!

  • Whoaaa, I did not see that ending coming! I didn't even think this would be for the Arid challenge! You caught me off guard! Also, the whole thing seems like a fever dream. I love it!

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