by Pauline Howard
Right now, the thing I hate most is trawling round charity shops. Same cluttered rubbish, same stale smell, same aimless looking people. But here I am doing exactly that!
‘What do you think of this?’ Lulu holds a top against her ample bosom.
‘Ghastly.’ I snap.
‘Oh, come on, I think it suits me.’
‘It’s got a v-neck.’ I say, as if that is a valid reason why it doesn’t.
‘Well, I’m going to take it.’ She says hooking it over her arm, ‘It’s an absolute bargain.’
‘It’s only a bargain if you really need it.’ I say, ‘Otherwise it’s a waste of money.’
‘Don’t you like anything?’
Lulu is not deterred. She carries on browsing. I stand with my arms crossed staring out the open door. It is open because of Covid, but the cold draft does nothing to relieve the fusty smell. In fact, I am now about to sneeze. A good excuse to leave. Outside I hop from foot to foot, it is not just freezing, the wind is blowing a hooley. My nose feels like it might drop off.
‘Let’s go for a coffee now.’ Lulu says as she joins me, ‘There is a very nice place just round the corner called Beanz.’
As we push open the door, delicious smells assail my nostrils. This is more like it. We order and sit down. Lulu says, ‘You’re smiling now. You should keep that look. It suits you much better than a scowl.’
I feel quite bad, is it really that difficult to be affable? I sit back as the waitress comes to our table with a tray bearing steaming mugs and two enormous portions of cream cake.