A Character Sketch.

I’ve had this shopping problem for a long time. To illustrate, here’s a character sketch I wrote 19 years ago for a creative writing class in college. This piece comes to mind every time I get that heart-racing thing when I think about shopping. I dug it out of the recesses and converted it from a stone-aged version of Microsoft Word.


She felt a sizzle as she took steps towards her favorite department store. There was no one around, so she smiled wide. No one to slow her down. She began to walk faster and added a skip to her step. Her heart beat faster. She could almost taste the sale racks.

The huge letters hypnotized her as she turned the corner. She stared at the A and the S* as she reached down into her pocket. She traced the same letters on the piece of plastic she found there. She hugged herself to control the shivering.

The gates were still down. She was going to be first. She threw her head back and squealed silently. She ran her fingers lightly over the grating, forming the two letters over and over again. They should’ve opened it by now. She slid her fingers through the grating and began to tug lightly. She fit her nose into one of the gate holes. No one was coming to open the gate.

She turned around and resumed her grip on the gate. She pulled it towards her, and then pushed it away. The clanking got louder as she pulled and pushed again. She turned back around and saw someone in blue sauntering towards her from inside the store.

Why wasn’t he taking out his damn key? She ran a sweaty hand through her hair. “Ma’am, we’re not opening today,” the man said.

She froze.

“I’m afraid there’s been a little fire in the back. We will not be opening today. Have a nice day.” He walked away.

Her arms fell to her sides as she watched him disappear around the corner in the shoe department.


* Back when I wrote this, A&S was a mid-level department store, akin to Lord & Taylor.

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