Andrea rushed to her little, red car, heels clicking on the pavement behind her, a little out of sync with her run. The little she knew about perception reminded her of a red-shift in acoustics, but that was more the science of Psychology. And Andrea had never been a mathematician.
She shook her head as she ducked into the driver’s seat again. Finally, the revving of the ignition calmed her self-looking fury. It wasn’t her fault in reality. It was Dr. Morrison’s.
Andrea stalked the aisles of the supermarket, hands thrust into the pockets of her jacket and heels sounding that pace, now regular, upon the cold floor. Vegetables and fruit, cakes and sweets, dairy whizzed by in the sections she passed, until she finally came upon the meat aisle.
There was a multitude of people standing and milling around the two meat aisles of Lansdale Supermarket. Like every shopper apart from herself, they had no order to their senseless travels. The first lane the fewest stragglers, but Andrea perused its wares with her lips in a pout. She could manipulate a great deal of items into dishes, but there was nothing here that she could use.
Andrea drew a lock of her hair back behind her ear, scouring the levels on which plump roasts shared their spaces with fat pig bodies of all sizes.
Her stomach rumbled and as she blushed, Andrea stared longingly at the animals, for once wishing that there could be an opportunity for her to carve such a nice dinner.
That a pretty fantasy. She was never going to entertain in that flat.
Holding back a sigh, Andrea relented and passed out through the towering shapes to the second aisle, where packet chicken-for-one was kept. She shifted the uncomfortable basket from one arm to the other, lifting her eyes over the new layers of shelves.
Yes, Andrea appreciated how diverse a selection they had to choose from, but, too, it was annoying. Chicken was always chicken, however it was dressed. That was what kept her from being a real chef. They looked at food as art. Art was the only thing in Andrea’s world that could present itself as art.
She picked her feet up and strolled amongst the packaged goods, away from the fridges of fresh food. Trays lined the shelves in tacky mimic of life. Andrea searched them, eyes ever scanning higher as she skim-read the labels. Korma-meat, fillet food, best for all. It was all rather fanciful.
On the top shelf lay the currently unflavoured, unchopped pieces of meat. Andrea stared up at them. Really? Fate was going to mock her further. She wasn’t wearing her work shoes, but even with the heels, Andrea doubted that she would have been able to stretch so far.
Even so, she tried rocking upwards in one movement to make her toe-point be the utter base. But Andrea was no dancer. Uneven, she swayed and fell onto the heels of her feet again. Trying again, Andrea braced herself to extend every part of her body upwards to reach for the staple of her meals. No matter how far she stretched, however, not even her fingernails got a lock on the cardboard casing.
Andrea blushed, but she didn’t dare look around, at the faces that must now have been smiling to themselves, just as they always had seemed to. Andrea blushed to herself and adjusted the basket on her arm, dearly hoping that there was no one seeing these acts. She mused to herself; one more chance and then she would find a different source of meat…or go to a different supermarket if it came to that.
But Lansdale didn’t have that many, unless she were to try the corner shops and delis dotted about the place. That was a silly idea. Instead, she took a deep breath and rocked up on the balls of her feet again, head craning towards her destination.
A low chuckle came from beside her elbow.
“Do you need a little help with that?” he asked.
Andrea turned to see the man addressing her. Her sight was first drawn to the wiry black beard that grew, small, on his chin. A goatee, she mused. At least it matched the ferocity of the hairs on his head, which also curled and twisted.
“Hello?” she said, watching the man closely. He had chuckled but he had not laughed so. In fact, his movements were entirely warm, if done in a slightly pathetic expression.
“So, which is it?” he asked, stretching his long arms above her head to the top shelf.
Andrea felt her face burn. “The chicken. That pile there.”
With surprising dexterity, the man leant over and lifted the exact box she had had her eye on. He’d probably been watching her for a while to have figured this one out.
“There you go.” Before handing the packet to her, he observed the front and back. Then he plucked a different box from another row. It was almost comical to see him bend down to the shelves that Andrea would have been happier to reach.