Meltdown Dread

I plunked her diaper-padded bottom into the shopping cart and directed two little legs into the slots. The mission began. I had one hour, one child with me, two others at home, and a whole lot of errands to accomplish. I shoved some apples into a bag and twisted a green wire around the top in one fluid motion, then swung to the carrots and grabbed a bag. I tossed it into the cart, flew past the potatoes, saw they were on sale, made a quick turn around and hoisted a 10-lb. bag with one hand into the cart. It filled quickly almost without the wheels slowing.
It was the O’s that threw us. By then the cart looked like a food hill, rounded and toppling. I pulled two cartoon character boxes of cereal off the shelf and one big bag of O’s. Those fateful O’s.
Charity, eighteen months going on eighteen years, twisted in her metal prison. Her arm reached behind her.
“No,” I said as the plastic bag caught in her tight fist. I pried her fingers away and removed her hand. She arched, screeched and…

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