It started raining in the afternoon today and I forgot to bring my umbrella (something which was unusual - I bring my umbrella every day, even when it's bright and sunny). So, on my twenty minute break, I rushed to the local Big Lots to buy a new umbrella.
Big Lots is one of those "we sell everything" stores, where they sell food and toys and furniture for cheap, but it always seems sort of off-putting when you step inside. I went to where they had the umbrellas and luckily there was one left. I grabbed it and went to the checkout line.
As I came to the front of the line, a little girl behind me said, "We are cold." I didn't pay any attention to her until she said it again and then I turned to look at her. She was holding her mother's hand and looking at me and her mother was looking at me, too. "We are cold," her mother said.
"We are cold," the boy behind the checkout counter said. "We are cold," the people in line said in unison. "We are cold," it seemed everyone in the store said.
"This isn't real," I said.
"We are as real as the rain," the little girl said, her mother still clutching her hand. "When the wind bites, do you not feel our teeth? When the thunder claps, can you not hear our scream? We are screaming. We are biting. We are cold."
Everyone's faced blurred for a moment, as if the entire world was a bad photograph, and when they came into focus again, the boy behind the counter said, "That'll be four dollars, fifty cents."
I gave him five dollars and left before he could give me change.