The Ancient Modern
No One Knows The Hour / Joshua Alan Sturgill
Mrs. Jennifer Ruth Jansen attained enlightenment in the grocery store dairy section while reaching for a carton of eggs. With her left hand still on the handle of the cooler door and her right extended toward a veritable fortress of periwinkle styrofoam, Truth unfolded around her like a parasol. She understood the meaning of a photograph she had once seen in a college textbook. The phrase quantum entanglement rang almost audibly in her ears, and “They’re wrong about that,” she almost said aloud. She wore sweatpants and a green denim jacket over a favorite white T-shirt. She had just come from her afternoon Pilates class, and was shopping for dinner for her family of five. The Universe paused. Bowed. It became, in that instant, her friend, her servant, her body. Six cans of chickpeas, a large jar of organic peanut butter and a bag of baby carrots were already in her cart. Christmas music playing quietly overhead and the cool wash of refrigerated air spilling around her feet coincided with her new awareness. She passed beyond cause-and-effect. The people around her were a million flickering stars on a cloudless night. It was required that she make pasta tonight — sauce from fresh tomatoes over capellini. Then she smiled an unselfconscious, almost tearful smile: side dishes were not yet determined. She felt, for the first time, the delight in observing the cosmic play between the fixed and the spontaneous that few are able to comprehend. All dozen eggs unbroken, she settled them purposefully in the cart beside the peanut butter and turned her thoughts toward aisle 24. School lunches. Corn chips, salsa, cheese.