Sarah let out a groan under her breath. She had shoveled food into her mouth and down her throat with as few bites as possible. She needed to get into line, and with the deals starting at midnight, there was no time to waste. Her family insisted she spend dinner with them, but they never had a specific time limit. She was already regretting her eating habits. She looked down the line and waved for one of the security officers standing at the entrance.
The knot in her stomach tightened, as Sarah gripped her belly. Her waving became frantic as the guard casually sauntered towards her. Sarah closed her eyes and focused on pushing the pain away for just a few moments. Sarah opened her eyes, “Excuse me! Over here.”
The guard was flirting with a pair of cute little twenty-somethings a few feet ahead. He glanced over towards Sarah with a look of resentment before smiling towards the girls and excusing himself from their company. “What do you need, honey?”
Sarah clinched her teeth before answering, “I need the bathroom pass.”
“Didn’t you just go a few minutes ago?”
“Um, no, that wasn’t me.” She tried to be confident in her lie. “You must be thinking of someone else. I get five minutes, right?”
The guard squinted, peering intently at Sarah’s face. “The rules are you are allowed a 5 minute bathroom break every 2 hours without losing your spot in line.”
“No problem, this is my first break,” her voice wavering slightly as her stomach churned. The guard was staring through her as he decided her fate.
Sarah had been planning this trip all week; researching all of the deals listed across the web and creating her short list. This year she wasn’t shopping for anyone else; it was her year to splurge. It had been a rough year: bad relationships, family drama, and a perpetual fear of being laid off. Black Friday was her time alone each year, without judgment or worry, where she could always feel at the top of her life after she scores that perfect deal.
Sarah’s stomach gurgled audibly as the guard stood there, judging her. She winced, tears starting to build from the combined pain and emotions. She inhaled a shallow breath through her nose, focused on the eyes of her tormentor. The guard took a deep breath and depressed the button on the stopwatch, “You have 5 minutes.”
Sarah’s pain eased as she grabbed the red card in the guards right hand and took off towards the front doors. She whispered to herself, “This is my year.”
This is part of a 30 day series of 2-3 minute short stories written for the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 2011. You can view all the stories in the Short Story A Day category.