Festive Cheer?

Festive Cheer?

A Story by Kate W
"

A therapeutic piece.

"
December 3rd. Christmas shopping. She should go. Do something productive. The fresh air would do her good after all the worries and ailments of past weeks. She showers and dresses with enthusiasm but by the time she's driven, parked and the elevator doors open on the shopping level, she's already tired.

Deep breath. One foot in front of the other. Eyes scan the shop signage. What does she want? What does she need?

New Look is her fist point of call. Attracted by the 40% sale signs she browses the winter knits. Tries on two jumpers and stands in line to buy. Her mind is racing. Did she RSVP next door's invite for festive drinks? When was the office party again?
Next please she hears a voice call.
The checkout assistant is young, pleasant and conversational; not overly made up like some.
Would you like a bag?
Yes please. And a twenty pound voucher as well, thank you.
The impulsive purchase is for her niece, a teenager who always prefers money. Alison didn't like giving money but didn't want to hunt for a gift most likely to be returned either so this was fair compromise, she thought.

She exits and instantly pauses outside Boots. Why did she need to go into the chemist? She lingers no longer than a few seconds and moves on. Poundland. Could be good for her office Secret Santa. The shop, though not crowded, had aisles too narrow, blocked by people dithering over which box of cards to purchase. She abandoned hope and joined the mainstream in the mall once more.

The Perfume Shop is her next stop. Aftershave. He needs aftershave. She waits her turn. They don't have what she requires so leaves empty handed but it has reminded her that's what she wanted in Boots. She backtracks. No luck. The fragrance he likes isn't available in store and his second favourite they only have in the spray. He likes splash on. She makes a mental note to look on line later.

Back in the shopping centre she discovers a gadget shop. She enters, hoping for inspiration. She picks up a wallet, a stocking filler, a portable phone charger and her Secret Santa gift. Success.

She continues to wander back and forth until the warmth gets the better of her. She heads for the market square. It's sparsely occupied with stalls selling cheap Christmas gifts, Bric a brac, coffee and fast food. In the distance she hears music. She mooches, stops, picks up and put down. No intention of spending any money here but fresh air she needs so fresh air she has. The music gets louder. She raises her head, scans the aisles. It's a band on a make shift stage. The female vocalist is wrapped in a warm coat singing Five Colours in Her Hair. She's sort of in tune but maybe the open air is distorting the sound. Two minutes later the singer is trying to convince shoppers to join in with Twist and Shout. For a moment, the tune makes her smile. Ferris Bueller, she thinks.

All of a sudden she's aware of her back and how much it is aching. Her hip too. The cobbles underfoot can't be doing her any good, even though she's wearing flat, thick soled boots. At least the pain she'd experienced in previous weeks had gone, she acknowledged there was still most definitely an underlying issue causing the pressure on her joints. Hopefully the consultant would have news on her recent x-rays before Christmas.

Right now she needs rest. Coffee too. But not outside.

Indoors she chooses the smaller chain of coffee house in preference to the over-subscribed one with the red bean logo. A comfy, high backed chair by the window. Perfect.

Large cappuccino, no sprinkles. She digs in her handbag for her phone. On line she orders aftershave, saving 60% on the RRP. Bonus. In her diary she jots down a list of names. Alongside she each she writes wine and chocolates. A further note: use Tesco vouchers. There. Christmas shopping done.

She finds her reading book and manages one chapter before lines become blurred. She's exhausted. The last few weeks have taken their toll. The social expectancy to spend unnecessarily, too much to shoulder. Admitting defeat, she marks the page with her library receipt, closes the book and soon her eyes follow suit.

She takes a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Her mind empties. What will be, will be.

© 2017 Kate W



Author's Note

Kate W
I haven't written anything of this length for some considerable time.
The scenario is based on today's outing, a combination of personal experience, overheard conversations and observations. Writing style influenced by current reading material.

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Added on December 3, 2017
Last Updated on December 3, 2017

Author

Kate W
Kate W

United Kingdom



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