[First Draft 14/05/2012. Revised 29/02/2016. Done Again 12/10/2016. Gone Back to it 2/12/2016]
“We’ve got everything,” she said. “Let’s go.”
He made no move.
“I was thinking of that hole in the bathroom vinyl,” he said. “It’s unhygienic.”
“Unhygienic?” she said. “It’s not even a fingernail-width across!”
“I mean, someone might fall over it.”
She sighed. “I can’t see anyone tripping on such a tiny hole. Let’s go.”
“If someone was in those thin heels…”
She could have retorted that ‘those thin heels’ were no longer in fashion—but were they? What would she know? And hadn’t she seen someone in them, recently? They seemed to come in, and out, of fashion like…
She said, “The floor in there is so bumpy to start off with, we could do with figuring out how we’d level it, before we did anything else—”
“I was thinking of that underlay you can get for between floor and vinyl.”
“I didn’t know such a thing existed,” she said.
But, now he’d mentioned it, something like cushion-flooring came to her mind.
“Let’s look,” he said.
Honestly, talk about retail therapy.
He used to joke about it.
She would go along with it, when they had the money, thinking that he was happy to be treating her, thinking he was referring to her when he mentioned retail therapy.
But, over recent months, when money had once again become tight, she had come to realise that when he mentioned ‘retail therapy’, he wasn’t referring to her at all—she had just been his excuse, all along.
No. He meant himself. He had a thing about spending.
It was something in his psychology, she could see now.
He not only liked to spend money—he needed to.
“Okay,” she said, “but then we really should get going—I still have the cooking to do.”
They wandered up and down aisles in the store, him pushing the laden trolley.
They found the ‘bathrooms’ section, but meandered out of it again when they couldn’t find what he was looking for.
They tried the ‘kitchens’ department, but there was nothing there he was interested in.
At last, in ‘floor coverings and carpets’, he found it.
“Here,” he said. “This is it.”
She picked up the pack he pointed at.
Behind clear plastic packaging she could see white floss sheeting.
It was thin, and web-like.
It was called ‘carpet interlining’.
It had no substance to it at all.
“It’s for carpets,” she said. “Come on, let’s go.”
“If we just…” he said, moving ahead, looking from one side to the other of aisle after aisle.
She trailed behind, wondering how much they could afford for a take-away.