WEDNESDAY: To Shop or Not To Shop

BY BRENDA SHORT

Copyright is held by the author.

“Where did you put the wipes?” the wife asked me impatiently.

“They’re in the bathroom,” I told her, though why she didn’t know, I’m not sure. She had spent long enough in there this morning cleaning everything.

“Why do you need the wipes lass?” I asked over my shoulder, walking towards the bathroom to retrieve them for her.

“I have to go out and I want to take some with me,” she said pulling out a little baggie to put them in.

“Why do you want to go out? You know we’re supposed to stay home for now. What if you catch the Coronavirus? How will I manage without you here to cook my dinner?” I said, panicking at the though of her getting sick.

“You’ll manage just fine. There’s a lot of food in the fridge that doesn’t need cooking — just warming through. I’m sure even you could manage that,” she said, but a little impatiently I thought. “Anyway, I don’t intend to get sick. That’s why I need the wipes and the gloves.”

Gloves . . . gloves! This was serious. Just where was she going that she needed wipes and gloves? Anyway, why did she need to go out? We had enough toilet roll for now. She always kept a good supply in the bedroom closet — bought it whenever it went on sale, she did, so we wouldn’t run out anytime soon.

Maybe she had a medical appointment and didn’t want to tell me. She had a phone call earlier, but said it was a telemarketer. Maybe she wasn’t being honest with me — trying to stop me from worrying.

“Where are you going lass? Why do you have to go out anyway? We don’t need anything. We have plenty of food. Why don’t we just stay put and do what they ask — stay home except for emergencies,” I coaxed. “Anyway, you could bring back the Coronavirus to me and then, where would we be? After all, I’m the breadwinner of the family,” I reminded her.

“You retired last year,” she said, tutting. I didn’t like it when she tutted. “You haven’t been the breadwinner for a while.”

“But I get the pension,” I reminded her.

“And so do I,” she tutted again. “Well, if it upsets you so much, I’ll stay home,” she sighed, walking back into the kitchen.

I was so pleased that she decided not to go out. The news had been frightening, with all the new cases and the numbers were increasing daily.

I needed something to calm my nerves and it was time for my afternoon cuppa, but I couldn’t hear the kettle boiling, or the clatter of the cups and saucers. Oh well! Maybe it’s too early I thought and picked up the newspaper, turning it to the crossword page. After a while, still no tea and chocolate biscuits! I wondered if she had forgotten, or was she in the huff with me? I was going into withdrawal.

“What about our afternoon cuppa lass? Did you forget, or maybe your busy with something?” I said as diplomatically as possible. Nothing but a tut. She must be huffed for sure so I thought I would make conversation and bring her round.

“So, what did you need anyway, lass? Maybe I can phone our son and have him drop it at the doorstep. What do you think?” I said persuasively, not holding out much hope that he would take the time to help us out. We hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him in weeks.

“We’re all out of tea bags lovey,” she said abruptly, “and chocolate biscuits!”

Raw panic ran through me. “Do you think you should wear a mask too?” I asked as I reached for her coat.

4 comments

  1. Sylvia

    Made me smile. Even though there weren’t any physical descriptions, I imagined the characters clearly from their dialogue, manner of speaking and his attitude.

  2. Gail

    Sorry he’s just too chauvinistic for me! Yes you do mention all the key words – masks, gloves, toilet paper. It’s not till he wants something that it’s necessary to go out. Why isn’t he doing some shopping? Do these people still exist — the breadwinners!!?? Maybe they are in their eighties or nineties — so hence this attitude. It was also — so predictable.

  3. Michael Joll

    I think we could have done without the adverbs. And I’m with Gail. He’s an annoying, demanding old goat who hides his dependence behind a brusque demeanour. She’s too compliant and perhaps browbeaten after a lifetime of servitude to her husband. Neither is a likeable character. Perhaps just as well, as without their attitudes towards each other there would be no conflict.

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