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The Shopper

The Shopper


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Published by Irma
Who needs thrills of adventure, when life is kind...
Who needs thrills of adventure, when life is kind...

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Published by: Irma on Dec 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Shopper

Irma Walter 2010

Probably I look weird. And actually, I don't care. Not anymore. Menopause had this profound effect on me; I must watch out not to alienate people too much. Public spaces are so forgiving. I'm much too young to be walking around with one of these shopping trolleys. Where's your car, love? You're coordinated, so why aren't you together? Somehow I manage to confuse styles. Wearing makeup and sneakers. A cute beret and biking gloves. Not bothering to take off my reading glasses for fear of misplacing them. Earplugs, tapping and humming along with the music. There is a smudge on my coat. Peggy, my blonde mop-on-paws... I should make more of an effort to look sociable. People give me these glances trying to place me. I wonder if this was a good idea. A car is one of the major expenses of my household that I can do without. Wheeling my shopping behind me in the train is not a good idea. It saves time, though. I go to up-valley to teach and their shopping mall is close to the train stop. Economising on distance is a good idea. I'm forced to think through the steps I take. At the outset I had already pinpointed this trainstation to be the one hurdle that might take a bit of sweat. Not a single facility to help wheelchair-bounds, elder citizens or bikers manage the under-rail passage. Can't I just call it a walking meditation? I'm stuck at a flight of stairs. Easy girl, you were good to shop the bare necessities only. The trolley is not too heavy. Let the crowd pass. Down two flights of stairs. Some students running up, trying to catch the train. Too late. The passage is tiled in an uncomfortable yellow. No smells, no trash, but puddles of molten snow. I'm glad I'm prepared. Life is messy sometimes, but manageable if one can anticipate an impasse. Makeup with sneakers. Up the other side. I focus on my back which I have recently

exercised; I'm in good shape. Pulling up the trolley step by step, I'm looking down to make sure I don't step on sleet. At the fringes of my focus, I notice a young man carrying his bike down the same flight of stairs. Halfway on the landing, he puts it down and takes hold of my shopping trolley to help me up. “Ah, thanks, I can manage,” I mumble but he won't be deterred; he helps me up in one quick move. He's strong. I can feel energy in his support. “Thank you. You're kind.” He curiously peers into my face, sort of trying to get a clue for the puzzle I'm presenting to him. Then he's off with his bike, a smile on his face. Stepping out of the trainstation, snow flakes gently tingle on my face. I love the biting cold, as long as my hands and feet are warm. In fact, I crave it. Life seems so real: a red hot, energetic heart beat thriving against the crisp white cold. My thoughts still linger with the young man's curious look. He was an immigrant. Probably someone who had been taught to respect his mother. Seeing me pulling a load, the love for Mother compelled him to lend a helping hand. Catching my eyes, he wanted to see if I was an authentic impersonation of his devotion. I think he was satisfied. Then tears welled up my eyes. It's the one thing I regret that I haven't been able to teach my own. They have only ever seen Mother fight for her self, competently so, successfully so. I haven't been able to ask for help or appear needy or I might have caved in. The thought of weakness has been banned from my life. Sometimes I'm terrified of the legacy I leave behind.

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