I pull into a parking spot and put the car in park when I notice them standing just to the left of the entry door. Fuck. I feel myself flush with sweat. My senses heighten from the adrenaline surge; my skin tingles and my heart pounds in my chest. Boom-boom-boom. There are three of them, all in uniform. Three seems like overkill, a calculated strategy. It will be nearly impossible to sneak by three pairs of eyes.
I consider my options. I need to go in there. Should I come back later? There will probably be others to replace them. Maybe I can wait until a group walks in and hide myself in the crowd. I sit and watch the entry for a few minutes, but there is no crowd, just individuals walking in or out.
I study the three hoping they might be distracted or bored, but they are on their toes, not missing anyone who walks by. The tall one, in particular, seems overly zealous and hell bent on doing a good job. It won’t be easy to sneak past them.
I come up with a plan. I’ll keep my face down and talk on my cell phone as I enter. Maybe I’ll slip through, but first I need to calm down. I take another deep breath. I can feel that my heart is still pounding, but slowing. I close my eyes and breathe, counting to ten, trying to slow my heart rate. I need to chill before I make my move.
I take my pulse. Ninety. Still too high. I glance back at them and try not to feel intimidated by their intensity. It backfires. I can’t look, I just need to go. I count down from twenty, determined to make my move when I hit zero. My cell phone and keys are ready in my hand. Three, breathe, two, breathe, one, breathe, zero – go.
I walk briskly across the parking lot, head down, avoiding eye contact. I fake a conversation on the phone; “Sure, about twenty minutes. Yeah, meet me there.” I’m talking loud making sure they can hear me as I approach the door. The tall one steps right in front of me, stopping me in my tracks.
“Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” she asks, smiling in confidence. She knows I’ll say yes.
I fold. I don’t even answer as I reach in my purse, hand her five bucks and take the purple box of sugar coated crack off the table. “Keep the change.” I mutter, and go about my business.
I don’t even lie to myself this time. I am not going to share these with my family. They will be hidden in the kitchen cabinet and consumed in one evening. I know that remorse and self-loathing is right around the corner, but right now my mouth is watering with anticipation of the gooey, crunchy, sweet ecstasy that awaits me. I better buy some milk.