The Other Fruit Shop

One foot in front of the other, it was a simple concept, but he had to keep it up, to keep doing it, it was the best way to go fast, to concentrate on a simple rule, a simple lesson, a simple idea, and if you concentrated on one simple thing then that thing would help, but you had to keep it simple, it was the worst thing to complicate it, no, keep it simple, so you couldn’t forget it and it would stay at the front of your mind and you would keep doing it, again and again and again and again. He felt the muscles at the front of his legs below the knee, they were beginning to tense up and hurt, and that only happened when he was going fast, so he knew he was on track, and that made him feel good. It was good to know you were on track and should be in time for the train.

Was the train normally late? Maybe it was, and it would be on time today, which would mean that it would be earlier than expected, earlier than he’d planned for. Not that you plan for this kind of thing.

It was an argument in the street. A conversation as they walked became more whingey and more mean. There were comments made snidely and with the tone of voice you use when you are being rude. It had been rude. They had both been rude. They were rude too often, to each other, and he knew he wasn’t the victim, that he was at least as much to blame as anyone, as if there were some outside influences involved, when of course there weren’t, it was just two people and how they chose to speak to each other, and they were both adults, and adults can communicate respectfully, if they choose to, which might not always be easy to do but is never impossible. It may even have been that he started it. Who started it sounded such an infantile point to consider, as if it really mattered, as if they were both in primary school and these things really did matter, as if that it, this thing, once started couldn’t be stopped, and therefore who started it was really responsible for the whole thing, for all the badness in the world, all the nastiness and malice between them, when that wasn’t right. Adults can stop it, once it has started, if they want to. But he had started it, he thought. And maybe he was usually the one who started it. If that was true that was bad. He didn’t want to start anything. In fact that was his problem. He thought so anyway, not starting anything. Not having the courage to go first and do something for the first time and leap into the unknown and take a risk. Life was full of risk takers and he knew quite a few of them, in fact everyone he knew seemed like a risk taker, but not him, he hated risks and wouldn’t risk them if he could, and when he was forced, and really forced with an arm twisted behind his back, metaphorically of course, he would feel as if his soul had been injured and as if he was somehow a veteran of a conflict against the unknown which had barely seen him emerge victorious, or not quite victorious, more scarred and barely alive and so happy that the uncertainty, the blackness, had not swallowed him up and destroyed him with violence aforethought.

Cars sped past. It wasn’t really speeding but they sprayed up water and he used his umbrella to shield himself from the spray and then his hair got wet and water ran down his cheeks and into his eyes.

The only thing he started was arguments, and silly, meaningless arguments at that, childish differences of opinion characterised by names called and irritating voices used. It wasn’t a happy realisation, but he had to keep going and he consoled himself with the notion that he was making good time, he was keeping up the pace and he should make the train as long as he didn’t slacken off now.

A man was sweeping the floor of his fruiterers shop as he walked past, and he wondered if the fruit was good there, for he didn’t normally come this way. When they argued and the boiling point was reached he had walked away and taken a different path to a different train station and now he was seeing shops in the next suburb and wondering why they didn’t shop there. They didn’t shop there because the ridiculously cheap malt milkshake and bacon and egg roll were only available in their home suburb and she would never give them up and he didn’t want to either. And the woman in the newsagent and the hot chips from the chicken shop, which weren’t the cheapest but they were always recently cooked and so hot and the chicken salt was a heavenly taste on all the taste regions of your tongue, all different and all happening at the same time. That was why he hadn’t shopped at this fruiterer, why they hadn’t shopped there, but the apples looked good so he made a note, a mental note to tell her about the fruit shop in the neighbouring suburb and suggest they should try it next time they wanted fruit and vegies.

He skipped to the top of the steps at the train station and heard a train coming and he ran to the front of the train and got on where they normally got on, at their usual carriage. And he saw her from a distance away, on the upper deck and so he sat in a vacant seat on the lower deck of their usual carriage, planning a shopping trip which might bring back grapes and pears and avocados and eggplant and a large pumpkin, and he wanted to tell her about his planned shopping trip, but it would have to wait, and he would tell her later.

Published in: on June 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

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