Logjam

by Belinda Furby

Marlene stood in the far corner of the Dollar Store holding back tears she knew could burst free any moment like a logjam letting go. She focused hard on the shelves of toiletries, squeezing very tightly and systematically every muscle in her body, until she began to tremble and sweat with the effort. Focusing and tightening; this was how she held it together on days like this - days when she had to choose between buying toilet paper and toothpaste, between a can of tuna and a can of Coke. Toilet paper she could easily take from the restroom at school and stuff in her purse; the can of Coke was a luxury just for her. Tuna would be dinner for them both. There - decision made, dam stopped.

6S

Belinda Furby, who has stolen toilet paper from a public bathroom before, is thankful not to have to choose between tuna and Coke anymore. She is the author of First Kiss.