I am buying ingredients for a Valentine’s Day Dinner. The checkout girl is perky and over-keen. She has straw hair, an earnest smile and a cross hanging round her neck.
I can’t help but fixate on a cross when someone is an otherwise neutral role. It’s a signifier that can’t be ignored.
She asks if I have a loyalty card. She asks if I need bags. She asks if I need help packing.
She is polite and attentive, but this all changes when her blonde friend walks up in a big puffy jacket, pushing a pram.
They talk across me as the checkout girl rings up my shopping at a snail’s pace. They are being rude. I don’t mind though, it’s better than TV.
Everything about the checkout girl changes: her posture, her words, her accent.
‘How you been?’
‘Alright, how’s Steve?’
‘I tell you, I can’t take it no more. It’s driving me mental.’
‘How come you never phone no more?’ asked the blonde girl.
‘I’ve been mad busy, I’ve been so busy, I will though, I will text though, promise.’ replied the checkout girl.
There is something that all three of us know for certain. The checkout girl will never phone the blonde girl. The pram is the unspoken truth. She’s gone and fucked it for good.