|Wednesday is the best day – quiet, lovely Carl is usually filling the shelves and if I get here for twenty past four the yellow stickers are just going on which always gives me a little rush of excitement. I’m about halfway through my shop, just past the cooked meat aisle, wondering about a quiche but I probably wouldn’t get it all eat and the mini ones, well they’re mostly pastry, aren’t they? A lady bumps my elbow, and I look up, wearing my best benign smile, pre-hearing the mutual unmeant sorries. She glares, calls me a stupid bitch and dumps four more two pinters in her trolley. I let her pass, and she grabs the last six mini quiche. I suppose the milk will wash the pastry down.Carl is indeed working today, and I see him behind a trolley piled with Smart Price toilet roll – not my favourite but it seems really popular today. The people of Telford must have thicker skin than I gave them credit for. A red faced man pushes me out of the way – turns to explain that he’s got four kids, then fills half his trolley from the gurney. One of his children is trailing behind with a bag of potatoes. It’s split and there’s four on the floor, which I start to pick up. Mr Toilet Roll almost takes my legs from under me and demands I get my own fucking potatoes. I do have a small bag of salad potatoes in my basket but I don’t point this out.
Naturally, I’m a little shaken (more embarrassed to be fair – as if I’d steal potatoes from a child), and lovely Carl abandons his trolley of treasure to the masses to check I’m ok. I am, of course, I encounter worse than Mr Potato every day but it’s nice to have some attention from lovely Carl, so I fashion what I hope is a brave, yet enigmatic, smile.
The sun’s out as I start to walk home, past throngs of rushing families muttering about pasta and rice and tins of tomatoes. I put my nose to my tulips, which is ridiculous since they don’t smell, and look closely to see if he’s hidden his number amongst the blooms.
|Kathryn is a writer based in Shropshire. She’s always written, but it was diagnosis with M.E. that forced her to re-evaluate and reconsider the role of writing in her life. Kathryn’s poetry publications to date include work in Mslexia, Words for the Wild and Saltwaterzine, and she was Poet in Residence for Secret Severn Art Trail in 2019. She has flash fiction in Riggwelter Press and was longlisted for the Fish short story prize in 2019|