The shopping list is long and I have already failed with the prawns and am having to improvise with frozen seafood cocktail. I came early to this huge supermarket to avoid the crowds but my sight is blurry and I am can’t find anything and consequently I run over time. The supermarket fills with fretting families and fast-walking weekly-shop wannabies. I have my cane out but no one understands its significance and it just gets in the way of pushing a trolley. I am beginning to bash people.
Oh you go..no me. Oh ok..oh shit …
I need to get out now and am scanning frantically trying to find someone who can help. Unfortunately this bloody supermarket has kindly chosen to dress their stuff in understated grey and blue fleeces with the tiny logos embroidered discreetly on their chests. I can’t tell who is staff and who is shopper.
I hit the bread aisle at about 20mph and knock several stacks of prebake bagels to the floor. A woman tutts so loudly more bagels slide to the floor.
By the cheese aisle I am flagging, consider abandoning it all and cancelling supper but finally there is someone who looks morose enough to be staff and is wearing a set of key cards around their neck. I ask for chicken stock.
‘Aisle 4,’ she says and then asks if I need any more help.
‘No, no absolutely fine thanks.’ My upper lip quivers then stiffens.
I turn away with purpose but am immediately confused. I scan and scan for aisle numbers and then start running, shoving and dodging past people thinking ‘I know- I’ll just count from Aisle 1.’
I rush forward thinking that I can grab the stock and be out of here in five blurred minutes.
I peer up at the top shelf and can see the large plastic containers and exuberantly grab the first. What I do not see is that the first is attached to the second and the second to the third and so on.
I bring down an entire shelf of chicken stock.
Three of the plastic containers burst open splashing their yellow brown contents all over the floor, the shelves, my legs and the trainers of the man standing ..now leaping backwards..next to me.
I look at him aghast and only then discover that he is absolutely gorgeous. Tall, dark intelligent eyes, shoulders to lean on and damn him, damn him..a dimple. He has said something like ‘oh dear’ quietly and kindly and looks to see if I am all right. There is my opportunity to make contact, to start something beautiful and what do I do..
I look down at our legs dripping chicken broth and say with a ghastly giggle (it’s the one I do when I meet someone I am attracted to. It is unfailingly unnerving)
‘We’re going to smell really ‘fowl’.
And then I do a kind of eye brow ‘taa daa!’.
The man’s face freezes slightly and I turn pink with embarrassment spinning around to try and wave down a helpful staff member ..when I turn back I see he has escaped. I catch a fleeting glance of his back disappearing into the veggie aisle.
I stick by the mess I have made, feeling anxious as hordes of people keep pushing their trollies through it. I don’t know why I don’t walk away ..but I don’t and moronically stand for over ten minutes directing people around the pooling mess suddenly realising that the chicken stock looks suspiciously pee like and with guilt written all over my sweaty face people are drawing their own conclusions. Eventually a man with a blue fleece, a sour expression and a yellow ‘spillage’ notice comes into my vision and I nod politely and flee.
‘Can you go slowly? I’m visually impaired’, I ask at the check out. My hands are shaking.
‘Do you want help packing then?’ Whinges the man. ‘See there is a queue and we can’t have you holding other people up….’