The Tedium of Doing Good

Diana can’t carry too much at the one time. I agreed to help her do a big Easter shop. It was before seven thirty when I hurried her out rather than sit while she smoked and talked at length.

She wanted to pay me, saying she’d paid Yvann and Leslie. I said I wasn’t them. In Waitrose I directed her to the roast chicken counter while I checked fruit and veg for myself as I’d done time before. She called me over, saying I’d abandoned her. I didn’t really understand how she could think that and disputed it. She panicked, she said and that Mike wouldn’t have done it. Mike’s her long dead friend who yet advises her what to do. “I know you’re not Mike!” “No, I’m not.” Following Fat Pat who was out of hot chicken to the cold chicken counter, I was leaving Diana again, indicating she follow with the trolley. She didn’t like this nor that I patted Steve shelf-stacking on the head in passing or that I was acknowledging Adrian’s smiling acknowledgment from farther off or that of the boy she’d thought the one last time though, as I’d corrected, he’s another one. I didn’t believe this plethora of other people was accidental.

Passing reduced gluten-free rolls I grabbed them. Diana threw a strop. She wouldn’t move if I didn’t put them in the trolley. “Then we’ll wait.” She moved, but deliberately prolonged the shopping by having forgotten conditioner at the other end of the shop she wouldn’t let me go back for on my own. We had both to go back for it.

She wouldn’t let me leave her at the checkout, as I’d done last time, to pay for my rolls. Elvira, on the checkout, questioned why I was with her by a look. Diana, catching the look and misinterpreting it paranoiacally, said, “They don’t like me here.” “Don’t bother about it.” To Elvira I explained, while packing the shopping, Diana was a neighbour in my block. Once Diana had paid for hers, I paid for my rolls, 19p, amusingly by card.

Outside I went to cross the road. Diana was pushing me to the crossing. “It’s what I do,” she said. “It’s not what I do,” I snapped. “You’re not on your own. There’s no traffic.” A car may have passed as we delayed. Another was stopped. I couldn’t understand why till I spied Daft Pat, an acquaintance with ulcerated legs and crutches, slowly crossing, not at the crossing.

On the other side, Diana said she’d gone for her benefit by herself. I commended that she had, “You have to keep going for as long as you can.” I dumped her as before with the shopping at her door and went off to Tesco’s for my own of any late night reduced stuff. It was twenty to nine when I came out, annoyed I’d missed the beginning of The Big Bang Theory but I could record it on E4+1. Nothing was lost and content for a blog was gained.

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About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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