On Any Saturday
It had always been in the back of my mind, but I never thought it would become reality.
Pieces of broken plastic lay on the oil and rubber stained concrete. At least the HQ was within the confines of the 2 white lines, and not as it usually was at a 45 degree angle each time mum parked.
She wasn’t the best of drivers, and our battle scared car, with its bleached white complexion and green front drivers panel wore the signs of many bumps, scrapes and impacts. I couldn’t recall the number of times she had nudged the cement posts while trying to park the beast.
This time was different, the orange lens that covered the indicator, and the headlight were gone. The old car looked like my Uncle Michael when he smiled, there was a big gap where his front teeth had been. They had fallen victim to an ill placed football boot when he was younger.
My brother Joe and I had been part of this Saturday morning ritual for as long as I could remember. I had graduated to the front seat, while Joe was still a prisoner of the child restraint anchored in the back.
We scurried toward the doors that opened and closed, almost without pause, appearing confused, not knowing if they would ever stop their repetitive dance. I looked back focusing on the pile of broken plastic with its dazzling, bright, orange reflection. It seemed to stimulate and encourage my tastebuds, reminding me of the sticky coated apples on a stick, that mum would buy for Joe and I, in the fruit and veg section, at Woolies.
A long white line stretched out from the entrance and ran down the middle of the mall, disappearing amongst the legs of the crowd. The large green and white signs hanging high overhead instructed everyone to keep left of the line.
The reject shop had become a familiar port of call, and today was no different. Mum quickly gathered 2 packets of screws and nails as per dad’s instructions, as well as a birthday card for our cousin Amy. She was turning 6 next week and mum always got birthday cards here because they were cheap at $1 each. We joined the line-up of customers at checkout 3, and were soon being greeted by Julie Williams, who lived at the end of our street. She was the war paint queen. Her lips were bright red and stood out like neon lights on a Christmas tree, and her eyes had black painted around them, that looked like someone had set fire to her face. I looked down at the floor just so she couldn’t see me. Mum reminded her of the BBQ on Sunday afternoon at our place.
Joe was reluctant to sit in the trolley, but with a little encouragement from mum, and the promise of chocolate, all was overcome. The supermarket was a hive of activity, people pushing and shoving, and those signs that seemed to attack you. “The Fresh Food People”, it hung from the roof, and the walls. Even the staff had it on their shirts.
I watched as tray after tray of sausages found its way into our trolley, and I hoped that there would be some steak as well, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Lambs fry was the only other addition to the list, and that met with groans of discontent from Joe.
After what seemed like an eternity, the white line became our focal point once more. Its path was not so much obscured by shoppers anymore, it just diminished into the distance to a point where it disappeared. It was such a relief to be out of the supermarket.
The long walk to the lower car park was interrupted by Joe, when he spotted the new Avengers ride. A quick way to get rid of $2.
The HQ was just where mum had parked it. I had hoped that someone had repaired the damage in our absence, but it looked more like Uncle Michael than ever.
The final turn into our street revealed dad’s van sitting on the nature strip. He had finished his shift early. At least he would be asleep until dinner time. Mum could relax for a little while yet.