QUEUE by The Scribbling Wren

Sadness, like water, finds its own level. One day crying every hour seems a bad day. After a week you’ve got used to it. A fortnight in, you don’t even stop what you’re doing to notice the tears. And it can come as a surprise when someone asks if you’re OK.

Sympathy towards you is one of the triggers and you set off again unable to reply because of the sobs. You then feel a twat, bit of a failure. Again a trigger. And now you’re racked with grief. Still at the checkout trying to load your bags. You feel your face puffing as you type in the alarm code from work instead of your pin.

You are however, convinced the number’s right.

So you try again. Pressing harder. Jabbing at the keys whilst trying to stop the tear snot combo dripping from your nose.

Until you get no more tries.

As you remember your pin your legs stop working. And you have to sit in the aisle. It’s just large enough for a trolley, comfortingly small really. Your head resting against the metallic frame, cold and rather refreshing against your hot, red, tear stained face.

The ‘while stocks last’ sale of sympathy in Asda has finished. No more out the back. Uncomfortable glances along the queue now snaking up the petfood aisle, with it’s lingering aroma of dog chew. The general consensus is the checkout girl should take charge.

She doesn’t. She was up all night finishing her dissertation. Is only here for another week and really it’s not her job. So she smiles sympathetically at you and everyone else then concentrates on picking a bit of skin off from next to her nail. She’s got  a button. It’s for emergencies, like being held up at gunpoint. She stares up at the light fittings whilst pondering whether to press it.

But it doesn’t seem right. Sad lady at checkout 12. Who do we call. Who sorts this? Or do we all just look away and hope you leave soon?


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