Woolworths by Julia Goonan
We waited in the line for groceries for fifteen minutes before Mum decided to ditch the basket at the counter. I haven’t seen her this angry since I broke the microwave with my foil-covered garlic bread.
‘Mum calm down, we really do need oats.’
‘We’ll go to Aldi.’
‘But we’re here now?’
She peered around her right shoulder, staring at Dad and a tall lanky blonde as they walked through the doors.
‘Is that Denise from next door?’ She said nothing. Her eyes started to pool.
‘Since when are her and Dad close?’
‘Since before we got the divorce.’
‘It was her?’ The two of them, arm in arm, grabbed a basket and headed for the confectionery aisle.
‘Let’s go. Now.’
The doors screeched as I walked back inside, following Mum’s gaze but she walked towards the car. Dad’s shirt looked uncomfortably tight around his bulging belly. He was breezing through the empty confectionery aisle, walking past my favourite wafers he used to bring me. I could hear Denise’s giggling into his shoulder as I followed behind them. Her hair was pristinely curled and her hips barely fit into her pencil skirt.
When I was little, I hid in Denise’s backyard with Archie, her son. I had run away from Mum and Dad after one of their fights. Archie invited me to play Wii with him and when we got inside the doorbell rang. Denise was in the kitchen, checking her lipstick in the oven door reflection. She wore black strappy heels and yelled to Archie that she will back soon with dinner. She raced to the door grabbing her wallet from the kitchen bench. Archie took a handful of redskins from the bowl on the counter top.
‘If you eat any more of those your teeth will fall out mister!’
‘Fine.’ Archie didn’t put any back in the bowl. He threw me a couple when he jumped onto the couch and the front door closed.
Dad and Denise stood in front of the wall of lollies when I picked up a pack of the wafers and threw them on the ground. Dad turned around while Denise grabbed a pack of redskins. I stared at him for a moment before running. He called my name, twice.
Mum was shivering when I found her outside.
‘Let’s go to Aldi.’