Shopping with Val - Aged 18

Navy blue nylon cardigan, black trousers stopping just above the ankle showing the white socks in the unintentionally fashionable tan leather shoes. Her silver, bushy hair was pulled back with a tortoiseshell hair clip. Balls of snot-ridden tissues poked out of her cardigan cuffs as she carried the tray over to our table. The tray's contents - large tea pot, two cups and saucers, two plates stacked with a couple of slices of Victoria sponge resting on top and some cutlery - rattled and shuffled about; Val and I had to steady the tray when she stopped by us as they almost toppled off the tray to their impending doom. Val's eyes widened in amusement, but said nothing. 

"Oh dear, silly me, I forgot the milk. Back in a jiffy!" Her voice was croaky, she turned and shuffled away, her footsteps bring up mini-clouds of smoke as she moved. 

"Well, don't know about you," Val started, removing the items from the tray, "but I've lost my appetite." I chuckled not saying anything as the woman came back, I kicked Val's ankle to stop her from continuing. 

"There you are my dears, I'll be right over there if you need me - don't hesitate to ask for anything!" She returned to her stool behind the till. 

I picked at the cake with my fork, tentatively taking a mouthful. The cake's appearance of being moist and lovely was nothing but a hurtful lie. It was stodgy, hard to swallow and not all that different to damp cardboard - I ate some on a dare when I was nine. I swallowed hard and placed the fork down softly. 

"Oh my!" I exclaimed loudly, with more enthusiasm than I felt, Val's eye had already risen. "This is so lovely, it's such a shame I had a big lunch or else I'd finish this in an instant." 

Val snorted. "Yeah, that one packet of Smoky Bacon crisps for brunch - I don't know how you manage to eat so much," she muttered sarcastically. She hadn't eaten any of her cake, but cut it up with the side of her fork, making it look as though she had eaten it. She downed her tea - two sugars and half the cup full of milk - and poured herself another. 

I drank mine quickly - no milk,  no sugar -  I was hardcore like that. 



We left. Val yelled goodbye - I didn't - we left, just then, right at that very moment, the heavens opened. I swore. Loudly. A woman battling the plastic covering of a pram, trying to protect the baby inside, gave me the dirtiest look - one of the worst I've ever received and I knew Malcolm Smith, the meanest boy ever to walk the earth. 

"Sorry!" I mouthed to her. "Did you bring an umbrella in that magic bag of yours?" I asked Val.

"Who do you think I am, Mary Poppins?" 

"It would be much more useful if you were, that's for sure-" she elbowed me in the gut. 

A fat man, ran up to us and demanded us to 'shift out of the way' as we were still in the doorway, under the shelter of the door. "Shall we go?"

"Sure, where?" 

"I shrugged, "Dunno, Maccy Dee's - I fancy a burger."

"Thought you were full up."

My eyes narrow. "Shut up." She laughed, linked her arm and dragged me down the street - she did that a lot, dragging me along as if I didn't know my way around the town we had spent our lives in, playing mother duck. I didn't mind though, I was pretty easy going. 

The End

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