Monday, 3 November 2008

Shop Girl and her MaAAH


I wouldn’t have put a light bulb in any other vegetable. Perhaps I trusted in the spirit of Halloween; the same spirit who tells you it’s alright to open the door to a local hoodie carrying a plastic axe.
After one glowing night in the shop window, I discover the pumpkins are half-cooked.
The fiercer of the pumpkins has morphed into a toothless old man.
Another night and they'd have been puddles of soup.
I have no choice but to send them to landfill.
I put them in a plastic bag, jump on the bag and stuff it in the bin outside.
Halloween is, as ever, just another normal day.
A regular comes in wearing orange eye shadow.
“That’s an interesting colour,” my Mum says.
“Yes, everyone says that. They don’t do it anymore.”
Veronica always comes in on a Friday because she visits the antique market up the road.
I don’t really understand what people get out of buying old broken things that anywhere else they’d expect a refund for. People bring lamps in here for re-wiring. Vintage, they say. Yes, I want to tell them, Vintage Ikea.
Veronica wants to sell us second hand jewellery. She holds up a necklace; it looks like a glittery thong.
“It’s very you,” she tells my Mum.
My mum holds it tentatively around her neck. It doesn’t matter if she wants the thong or not, Veronica has closed in on her and there’s no escape. She’s like a human headphone the way she presses in so closely to talk to you.
A familiar couple come in and I make a move to help them. But I can’t get away from Veronica’s voice.
“It was a heart necklace with a green stone in the middle,” she says, “You know, like an emerald but not an emerald, but like an emerald. And I thought, do I want a heart necklace? I already have one heart necklace, but then I thought well, if they have little heart earrings to match, you know...”
More customers come in and it’s feeling quite busy. Mum makes no attempt to dash past Veronica and I feel irritated.
“Do you think I should've bought it?” Veronica is saying. “Maybe I should've waited, or maybe I should've bought a different shape, they had some little silver dogs, you know, like dogs but not quite dogs...like wolves.”
The husband and wife decide on a chandelier and I bring it over to the counter to pack up.
Veronica isn’t too happy when my Mum switches her attention to the wife, who yesterday slipped on a half-eaten sandwich in Tesco and now has a stiff neck.
“I bet that really hurt,” Mum says.
“I fell once,” Veronica says.
“I’m all bruised down one side,” the wife says.
Veronica homes in on the wife’s neck. “Oh I was much worse than that.”
The couple don’t stay around long, unlike Veronica.
My mum is so patient.
Like a saint, I think.
At the end of the day we link arms and make our way home in the cold and dark.
Mum’s puffa jacket looks like a king size duvet; her huge rucksack only just fits over her arms when she wears it.
Ahead of us a group of face-painted teenagers stand at the corner preparing to pounce on some unsuspecting passer-by.
As we approach Mum suddenly lifts her arms up and runs at them.
“AAAAAAH,” she cries.
By the time they’ve got over their shock and screamed back, we’re a good few steps away giggling our heads off.
My mum’s like that. Like a saint but not quite.

2 comments:

Oli said...

the more i get to know your family the more i grow to love them..and laugh with them.

you funny!

Anonymous said...

wait not oli..tina said that above..