I shuffle down the brightly lit aisle, lights glaring on my face, blinding me. I dont want to do this, I dont like it, I hate it, I cant getting ahead of myself.
I must keep calm.
My knuckles are white on the trolley handle; Im gripping so hard, I cant feel them. I begin to tremble. He was too young.
Are people staring? Paranoia claws at my head, and I instinctively hunch my shoulders and lower my head, as if I am ashamed. Am I? It was not my fault, I know, but visions of that car slamming into him my lip trembles and I try desperately to focus on something else. I look at the floor. My fingers grip the trolley again and the grey speckles upon the floor tiles swim before my eyes.
Only a little boy.
Its the first time Ive left the house since it happened. Im still not sure that was such a good idea. Its stupid, I know, but are they all looking at me? Whats that a mother is saying to her daughter? Its warm here, but Ive broken out into a cold sweat, my hands grip even more tightly on the trolley, which is empty. My knuckles are so white, almost like these white lights, so bright What must they think of me? A tired, nervous, madwoman, shuffling down the aisle, muttering.
Im not mad, no, I cant be. The smell of fish clings to my nostrils as I push the empty trolley towards the fishmonger. He asks me if he can help, and I hear his voice, distantly. It is mingled with pity. What must I look like? This horrid baggy white top, and equally baggy greying jeans. The fishmonger hands me fish I dont remember asking for and I thank him in a hollow voice.
Im dragging my feet, I know. Like a child, but Im a grown woman, and its pathetic. Im pathetic. I pick some Asdas own pasta. I spend a long time running my fingers over the packet, looking, feeling. The pasta is immaculate, smooth, unspoilt. Like a childs skin, fair and beautiful. Immediately I see a child playing in the aisle. Its him, he plays on the dusty floor, giggling and evading the noisy shoppers. He is so happy, and that makes me happy. For the tiniest moment, its all not true, and I smile, and stretch out my hand to ruffle his hair.
I drop the pasta.
It spills out onto the creamy floor, and everyone looks at me. Stares. A woman stops fingering noodles and stares, eyes piercing me. Everyone is gazing intently at me, and now its silent for me, as the vision of my beautiful son fades into the background. The faint pop music dies away and the harsh, harsh lights seem to burn my skin. I turn and flee.
All courage drains out of me and blind panic thrashes about in my head as I fight my way through the shoppers, pushing, scrambling for the door. I have to get out of here! I have to leave! Please let me leave! Some woman curses angrily as I shove her in my desperate reach for the exit. I dont care, I dont, I can only think about getting out of here.
Cold air hits me in the face. A tiny bubble of relief expands in my stomach as I walk, shaking, to the back of the building. An employee is having a crafty smoke behind the back door. He gives me a strange look as I lean against the wall, pale and haggard.
I dont blame him. Id edge away too if it was me. He looks sideways, and I want to yell out. Doubts erupt again, and the What If ? questions trouble me once more. What if I hadnt let him go out? What if I had made him wear a bicycle helmet? And what if I had watched him? I sink down to the floor as sorrow eats away at me.
Well, this Short Story I wrote in a Creative Writing workshop with Sherry Ashworth, our writing theme being 'Bravery' She was very nice and was telling us how to plan. She said my story was A* material ^^
Anyway, this Short Story got through to the last round of a competition Miss enterered me in. Hope you enjoy reading it, and please comment. =]