Monday 30 March 2009

Shop Girl Back to Work

I’m back at the shop.
No more holidays planned for the year.
I’m knuckling down.

My neighbour's in too; he's drilling holes in a light fitting so we can hang crystal drops off it.
“Did you miss me?” I ask.
“I didn’t throw anything,” he says.
The holiday blues hit me and I decide to move to Valencia.
Rosie feels the same.
“I could get a job in a supermarket,” she says.
Perhaps we should wait a year.
Meanwhile I’ll focus on changing the window display with Mum and clearing stock. It’s been a quiet week and it’s time for action.
“I’m going to reduce a pile of picture frames,” I say.
Mum works on another dimension.
“We need to hold the lights we want to sell in our mind,” she says. “You know, make them conscious.”
That’s easier than physically holding them, which is what I’m soon doing.
We’re going to move the large gold chandelier into the spotlight.
It’s a meter wide and hangs on two chains.
We call it ‘the boat’; it’s a real bling bargain.
“It would look good over a snooker table,” people say.
But clearly no one has a snooker table because it’s still in our shop.
Its crystal strings catch on my jumper.
“Hang on,” Mum says, and goes underneath to take some of the weight.
I move down the ladder, knock my shins on the metal rung.
My legs buckle and I fall forward on my knees onto the top step.
“There’s no need to swear,” Mum says, as the chandelier swings precariously to one side.
And then I get the giggles.
I can’t help myself.
The chandelier shakes against me.
I’m aware that if I don’t pull myself together I could drop the whole thing.
Still holding it above her head, Mum peers through the crystal and wonders what’s wrong with me.
Then we hear a tap on the closed door.
It’s Papa, not great timing but at least he’s waiting to be let in.
Yesterday Mum saw me up the ladder while she was outside, even waved at me, then she thrust open the door nearly throwing me off.
“Maaaam!” I’d cried as the ladder had rocked and my life had flashed before me.
Not my life up until that moment but my life as it would be if fell.
Another deep breath and we lift the bling boat into place.
Papa comes in and suggests we put a different light there instead.
We don’t offer him tea.
I move the ladder away and a customer comes in.
He’s looking for a picture frame.
“I need a 10” by 12”,” he says.
“10” by 8” is my largest.”
“Will it fit?”
“Not if the picture is 10” by 12”.”
“It is.”
“Unless you can cut a bit off...”
He leaves the shop looking disappointed but returns ten minutes later.
“Give me your biggest 10” by 8”,” he says.
I’d almost forgotten what this place was like.
But I’m back now; back to being Shop Girl.

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