Little Lies

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The lights of the hardware store beamed down on me, like a spotlight on all my sins for the world to see. I was sure nobody was paying me any attention, but I tried to blend into the shelves as I pushed the cart down aisle 11. Shoulders back, eyes steady, zero fidgeting. That’s right folks, just doin’ some routine shopping here!

Voices buzzed around me but the prattling in my head was louder that day. If I could rearrange a day in my life, a redo, would I? Would my life have been the same? Maybe our wedding day? No, the day we met. The beginning of it all. The questions clattered around as I reached the ‘Pest Control’ section and picked up a blue box for my cart.

Would I have turned that same corner, at that moment, if I’d known a man with a silly mop of brown hair, hunting for his glasses, would slam into me? And would I have been charmed by that cute little frown between his eyes as he’d apologised, and wooed me into a coffee date? That little frown, now as appealing as the damn creases in his shirts?

Turning down aisle 8, I picked up two spades, then smiled at an old lady and continued to the registers.

Maybe I wouldn’t have redone that day. Because good memories made shit times more bearable, right? When I wanted to toss my coffee in his face, I could relive those sweet moments. Yeah, I could. And when I had a good day now, I could savour it that much more, knowing the shit would snap back faster than a nasty rubber band around your wrist.

As I reached the front of the store, I spotted Archie at his register and made a beeline for his lane.

“Gardening project eh, Gypsy? Holy, you’ve got a bit ‘ere!” He started scanning. Archie - orange hair and bright freckles - wasn’t the town’s biggest gossiper, but he was the loudest, and I mustered up a little enthusiasm and flashed him a smile.

“Mac and I bought some turf. Have to get the garden ready before we head off on our trip, remember?”

“That’s right! I’d give my right nut to go on a six-month vacay,” he boomed. “And I’d give my left to not hav’ta take the missus!” He cackled as he kept chatting, and I laughed along with him, keeping an eye on the scanning.

Work pants, two shovels, two spades, two pairs of gloves, a hoe and a tarp.

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