‘Last Meal at Whole Foods,’ by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh:

Now Kruszewski is long retired and there’s a Whole Foods on Center Boulevard and my mother is dying. Across from the Whole Foods is Starbucks. Next to Starbucks is Penelope’s Boutique. Next to the boutique is another boutique, and so on, for the length of the boulevard, the sequence interrupted only by the Goodwill, the sole remaining evidence of the age when this boulevard was a wasteland inhabited by shirtless phantasms. The blue sign still beckons with its smiling half-face that looks as if it had been drawn by a child with a crayon, but now it beckons the hip, who go there to discover cheap vintage clothes that a poor person would never dare wear. The Goodwill will outlast Whole Foods; I’m sure of it. It’ll outlast Starbucks, too. When the boulevard crumbles and reverts to its genuine self, Goodwill will be the last man standing. That’s the cycle.

A gem of a story in the most recent issue of The New Yorker. Sparse and rich and driven by voice. I think this just jumped into my stories-to-teach rotation.

And because of the lack of paywall right now, you can also read another story he published in TNY, ‘Appetite.’