The Mid-Week Shop


I steam into the supermarket, pissed that I’m here again when

Only this morning

I was in another and thought I’d finally bought it all

“Midweek shop?” the too-cheery staff-person asked as I alone picked up a basket

When all around me in crumpled shirts and laddered tights

Were the trolley-wielding weekend warriors trying to do it all

before Monday’s black and endless call

it was this staff-person who, I am sure, caught me two days ago

in a flouncy dress

on a day when I could not be bothered to launder

the mounting piles of baby-food stained jeans

the one smart pair of trousers that also fell victim to tomato sauce and pasta stars

and my three skirts

“Nice day for a day off?” she intoned too cheerily then.

Every day is a nice day for a day off when you are a full-time mother.

The hunt begins

I have been sent for jars of baby food

despite my daily attempts to feed the baby non-baby food

and chicken slices for sandwiches

despite my daily attempts to feed the partner non-sandwich foods

and though it’s these I look for, I know I’ll leave with much more

I am a shopper

I scour the reduced aisles looking for that bread we like to freeze

Anything more interesting than chicken and chips for tea

And some minor miracle for my hair

I arrive at a till, a mercifully empty one and I stop

There is a young man serving me

He smiles

“Lovely day, isn’t it?” he asks with a white-toothed grin

And I smile too, despite the fact that my back is killing me

I could strangle my partner

And I would kill for a break from this sunshine

He scans my items and almost begs me to let him help bag

Into my rucksack he slides the lacy, racy stockings I saw for half-price

That no doubt suggest I’m wearing something a bit nicer than trainers socks right now

The face mask suggesting big night out

The ready meals and frozen pizza that suggest I’ll spend it alone…

The dry shampoo that says ‘I don’t mind being a bit dirty if I’m having fun’

And the batteries, which do happen to be the type that fit my vibrator

Then: the chicken slices

There is nothing about a chicken slice that a shop assistant wants to know

The baby wipes, which I could be using to take off the makeup I forget to put on most days

The nappy bags which I could possibly use for fragrant bin bags in my delicate lady-bathroom?

The baby food… maybe I’m on a really strange diet?

The nappies.

Good job I’m not looking for a date, really.