Chocolate dipped oreos lay in neat rows
beside white chocolate pretzels
and beyond that is a few pounds of peanut butter fudge
Sour coated gummies sit in clear bins with scoops
beside a cascade of lemon drops
and a haphazard stack of boxes brimming with salt water taffy
Old fashioned ribbon candy lines the shelf below the myriad of chocolates

And the young person behind the counter
dressed in a bright striped apron and a delicate paper hat
nods gently and smiles at you
but the happiness on display
doesn’t reach their eyes.

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