Sunday, 16 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'The Trip' by Grace Palmer

The corner shop was too risky, so she walked the mile and a half into the shopping centre. Rain threatened, but that was an advantage, hoodie-wise. The security guard, diamond stud earring, penchant for pigeon-like clothes, keys on a chain, chatted to the guy in the key-grinders.

She tried to slow down, not a dawdle like the rest of them, but not the junkie-run. It was all for Shainey.

Shainey fiddled with her plaits when she was hungry, had brought another letter home last night. She ought to be grateful to that teacher, giving Shainey shoes and cleaning Shainey’s clothes when the washing-machine broke down. They were saving the planet anyway, with one wash a week, previous.

That teacher had found her in the playground, whispered in that way of hers, ‘ I understand, but if you could see your way to-’ 

Shainey had been nagging, had gone through the purse last night for trip money, that’s what did it, not some teacher barely older than she was. 

In Wilco’s musak played and the lights were too bright and revealing. She trekked back to Superdrug, felt more at home, quickly found what she wanted. High priced, small, wanted. Condoms, decent mascara, face cream and lippie (mad, the price of it.) Sleight of hand, in the pocket and away, fists bunched tight. That purse would be refilled. Shainey would go on her trip with the best of them, head held high.

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