Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Deli...

The shopkeeper watches her. From behind the counter of his old fashioned parade grocer that has turned into a gourmet deli, he is a providore of small goods and wine, tobacco and fresh artisan produce. 

He smiles a sad smile.

He has known her for over a decade.

He has known her mother even longer. These women, they used to appear together, and similar. These days, not so much. He has not seen the mother for a number of years. She has shrunk, from the local community, from life, into herself.

He keeps an eye on the girl as she moves around the small store, fond. He observes that she has lost weight, but still has tired eyes. Her movements are efficient. He wonders if she knows that despite the economy of her actions, she still displays a generous amount of care and worry?

Her children are not with her this week. Nor have they shared this chore for some months now. They are at school now. A useful protection from new and sadder memories.

The girl chooses quickly, from a list. A list, he notices, that is part of a further reaching diary of things to do.

Today's component of the list that gets shorter each and every week.

A list that used to pretend to be full of the promise of nutrient rich meals, a list of normality. Now they don't bother with pretending. Dog food, coffee, and the staples.

The staples of cigarettes and wine. Great volumes of both.

The fruit has disappeared from the list.

She still buys tomato juice and vanilla yogurt. And hopes that last weeks healthy produce may have been eaten. She will sadly realise, next week, that there is little point.

The point of the shopping, of the chore, is just the substance exchange.

She strides, still quick, taking note of crusty breads, rich mature cheddars and succulent pâtés. Creamy dips, some camembert, some gourmet crackers. Tropical juices, like nectar. Full fat iced coffee in a carton with some free chemicals, some cheesy chips with their divine orange crack dust. Her brown eyes flicker over the wares that are enticing.

She throws a block of chocolate into the basket. It will satisfy, perhaps. In the heart of her mind, she actually knows it won't help. The temptation is easier to fulfil that abstinence.

She pays him. Her card, the total cost of real food to substances is in poor ratio. The cost is high on her card, on health. Regardless of the cheap red wine, the volumes required come at such a cost.

She hauls the shopping bags from counter to car.

The providore watches her still.

He knows she will unpack the majority into her mothers larder. The wine is left out on a drinks tray, for convenience. She will clean up, feed the dog, deal with garbage bins and recycling. He recalls she deals with her Mothers post, with her bills, these days. He can hear an echo of the chatter they used to indulge in. Do they chat still? Or does resentment fill the guilty silences?

And then she is back in her car. And she sighs. Exhales. Relieved that the chore is complete for another week.

She sits for a moment without driving off. She wonders how long it will be before the time of day is justified for a glass to fill with red wine. Her Mother will feel the relief as she takes that first sip, as she swallows it to stuff down all the other stuff. The stuff that is too hard to deal with.

She reaches into her bag and breaks a chunk of chocolate and mindlessly eats it. It turns her brain off, momentarily. She swallows it, to stuff down all the other stuff...the stuff that is so hard to deal with.

We are all addicted to something.

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  1. Powerful truth Lucy....powerful.

  2. Did you write this? It is beautifully written. I agree a powerful amazing post!

  3. I thought becoming healthier is one happy event with fireworks!
    But I can be example it doesn’t have to be. Anyway, it may always be worse ;-)

  4. I'm a comment addict to. I just joined a few days back. Your site is so amazing.

  5. Wow! A great post!

    Each week I go shopping I minus one bad thing from my shopping and add 2 healthy things it is a good game. I have cut out coke, softdrink, cordial, flavoured biscuits, sweet biscuits, and anything with fake sweetner. I'm trying to slowly cut out processed foods.

  6. Oh Lucy, so much heart and emotion in this post xx

  7. Love you Lucy. Know that you are amazing whatever you are grappling with xx

  8. I have cried many tears this weekend as I'm having a very tough time with a close family member at present. It is exhausting and draining. And it is hard to keep control of the emotions that go with it. I wish we could stuff them, but history tells me the more you try to stuff them, fill them, the bigger hole it leaves. I wish I could write like you do to truly express how I feel right now. Lucy, you are amazing and inspiring, as always. xox

  9. We are addicted to something, correct. Luckily, many people have the power to pick their addiction. There are some very good choices and some which are just terrible. It would be sad life to be addicted to nothing because even love is an addiction.

  10. Very nice. I too am addicted to comments, but alas, my readers have discovered this and have me in rehab. They have cut me off cold turkey.

    I would like to tell you that of the numerous blogs of note I have viewed, yours is the only one I have followed. I am enjoying your writing.

    Well done.

  11. This is a beautiful piece of writing. I particularly enjoyed "She throws a block of chocolate into the basket. It will satisfy, perhaps. In the heart of her mind, she actually knows it won't help. The temptation is easier to fulfil that abstinence," and the paragraph that preceded it. Well done!

  12. I have been following your blog for awhile now, thought it was time I said hello. So Hello. Nice writing by the way and congrats on blog of note. ;)

  13. Lucy, you are an amazing writer. You should become an author. I just wanted to read and read but I realized it was a blog not a book. AMAZING JOB LUCY!

  14. Such a heartbreaking piece :( while also so beautifully written and captivating. Oh how I relate to that block of chocolate and the way in which it pushes the 'stuff' down. You are such a talented writer xoxo

  15. I so get this - my mum and I used to go shopping together and enjoy a good coffee, buy good food that she would turn into amazing meals...these days I have to rush when I shop in fear that when I return she'll have had a fall and broken a bone, all she asks for is

  16. Wow that was very soulful and true we all have an addiction to something.

  17. I am also a comment addict. I can never get enough.
    You are a lovely, lyrical writer and I thoroughly enjoy your posts. This one was especially touching.


I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx