Wallflower Girl (Chapter 6, page 2 of 4)


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The town itself was different. The motel had not yet been built. It was a cow paddock. Two black and white cattle looked at the truck with plaintive brown eyes, and one lowed mournfully. She waved. There were far fewer businesses and the roads were bumpy and minus the curbed guttering. The people looked smaller and thinner. Everyone was wearing summer clothes, so there was plenty of skin. The children were all bony looking. There were a few heavily set adults, but the ladies were predominately slender and the men all looked fit.

There wasn't much plastic at the market. Most food packaging was paper or cardboard. There were glass jars and bottles or metal cans. Anne had thirty-five dollars to shop for the week, and that was plenty. She bundled the bags of groceries in the passenger seat of the truck, then visited a butcher shop to buy her husband's steak and some roasts and ground beef for dinners. Quite a few people called out or waved a hello as she passed them and she replied in kind, recognising the faces, though not remembering the names of any of them. Still, she enjoyed the friendly greetings. It was also amusing to look at the hair and clothing. Middle aged women in pants suits and dresses with fitted bodices and wide skirts, their hair puffed into short buffants; younger women in sheaths and baby doll dresses with tall boots. The men seemed to be wearing plaid bell bottoms and ascots, their hair a little too long around the collar. Moustaches abounded. She had to fight down giggles. They looked so silly to her 21st Century sensibilities, but these were the common fashions of the day. Laughing at them would make her look crazy.

She walked past a movie theatre, noting in passing that Planet of the Apes was the feature film. She wondered if Nick would want to go.

It was lovely to stroll around town, and there was plenty to see in all the shop windows, but she had meat, milk and ice cream in the truck, and it was all going to spoil if she kept dawdling around. Anne also felt the need to hurry home and make something nice for her husband's lunch. She had fresh bread and, with leftovers from last night, she the makings of a pretty awesome chicken salad sandwich.

Suddenly eager to get back to the house, she bounded back into the truck with an ease that still amazed the part of herself that had grown accustomed to her handicap, and shifted noisily into gear.

***

Nick stepped up three tiers and tossed the last straw bale into place. He had spent the morning stacking his trailer, and had just finished unloading into his hay shed. He was hot, and his back and arms ached from the work. It was time to wash up for lunch and an hour of rest before doing another load that afternoon.

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