Why does everyone have to go shopping on a Saturday? Does everyone have the same thought when they wake up on Saturday morning; hey I’ll go shopping now! I don’t know, but whatever happens, I’ve decided not to be a sheep ever again.
Leaning on the shopping trolley and watching my granny hobbling passed all the can goods, I blow my long purple fringe out of my cold blue eyes. Dropping my head down, my hoodie falls back into place and I go into hibernation mode again. Wheeling the trolley after her, I look through the metal mesh at the floor going by.
‘Flora? What are you doing?’
The sharp voice of granny has me raising my chin off my folded arms that I’d rested on the handle bars of the trolley. Only she calls me by my full name. I look at her walnut like face and smile brightly. I hurry over and she drops a can of mushy peas into the trolley.
‘I thought something fell on the floor,’ I lie.
She holds my gaze in that –I-know-you’re-lying-and-were-messing-around-scowl- that my mum has given me so often. I shrug and look at the rows of can veg. Photo shopped images of too green peas and too orange carrot slices met my eyes.
‘What does your mother want?’
Speak of the devil.
I dig out the crumpled scrap of paper on which is my shopping list and check it.
‘Carrots and sweetcorn,’ I read off.
I grab two sliced carrots and one sweetcorn. Putting them in, I double check there’s nothing else.
Gran is shuffling away, her own list clutched in a gnarled hand that reminds me of a twisty tree branch. She reaches the end of the aisle and heads off to the right, ignoring the ready-made world takeaway food on offer before her.
I go to check it out. Mmmm…chicken tiki masla… I pick up the plastic bag, but the food inside just looks like a smear of colour. Dumping it back, I trail after granny, who is now musing over rice. I over take her and see what else was on mum’s list. Not much. Surprisingly. Which means that she plans to go shopping again by herself mid-week. I sigh and wish that the twins didn’t football practise and then a laser quest party this afternoon. That’s why, I’m here by the way; shopping with granny and being the taxi.
‘Flora? What are you doing girl?’
I turn then spin the trolley and come back to her, ‘Nothing. I was seeing what else mum wanted.’
Gran puts a small bag of brown rice in and inspects the contents of the trolley, as if I had sneaked something. She seems satisfied so we carry on, weaving around people, avoiding the running wild children. A baby starts screaming somewhere in the frozen section.
The time and my boredom drag. Finally, after triple checking both lists, freedom begins to shine through. We go to the checkout, load everything on the belt then pack. Or I pack and gran sits on a plastic chair in-between two old woman. I wondered if they are waiting for grandkids or their adult kids to come and claim them? Gran seems to fit in so well, I can hardly tell her a part from the other too heavily wrinkled woman with short wispy white hair.
With the trolley repacked, we leave and head outside. The cold air feels so good on my face that I shut my eyes and take a deep breath.
‘What’s wrong with you, Flora?’
‘Nothing gran,’ I mutter.