A Tail of Tissue Paper
Helena adjusted her ponytail, tugging on a wayward braid to set it right. She’d slathered on lipstick today, staring into the mirror, Helena wished she’d chosen the pink instead of the cherry red.
Oh well, she shrugged her shoulders and washed her hands in the sink. Drying her hands off, she adjusted her handbag and left the bathroom, adding an extra swing to her hips, now that she felt fresh.
The Nakumatt Junction was buzzing with activity. Saturdays, Helena thought. Every woman, her children and man were out shopping for the week. Helena sighed and walked into the supermarket with a wide smile for the luggage carrier dudes. They smiled back, their gazes sweeping over her figure with appreciation. She grinned, and ran a hand down her hips.
She’d bought the skinny Levis at a whopping two thousand five hundred shillings. She loved them. They hugged her butt to perfection. She’d refused to mourn the use of the money. Not that she’d ever tell her friends the price. They’d call her a vanity whore, so she kept it to herself.
Helena smiled as she got a shopping cart, rolling it down the aisle. She’d told her friends she’d gotten the jeans at a sale in the market. Yeah right, as though faded jeans would give the definition her Levis afforded her. Shaking her head, she paused in the coffee aisle to get her stash of dark roast. Nothing could beat a good cup of dark roast coffee in the morning.
Putting the package in her cart, she continued down the aisle to the milk aisle. Her mother was coming over later. The woman lived and breathed tea with milk. If Helena didn’t have milk in the house, her mother would think it a sacrilege. Helena rolled her eyes as she grabbed two packets of milk and dumped them into the cart. She loved her mother, lord knew she did, but they differed in so many things…Helena sighed.
“She’s your mother,” Helena said under her breath, walking past a mother struggling to control three rowdy children. All of them held their own packages; they wanted their mother to add them into an already overfilled cart.
Helena shuddered at the disruption they were making. She quickly walked down the aisle to the pasta aisle, promising herself to get one kid. She’d get only one, not because she hated kids, but because one was ideal in this crazy modern world. The cost of living was too high to even contemplate three.
Her mother was eager to hold a grandchild in her arms. She’d probably mention it later when she came to visit.
Helena studied her choices, noodles, shells, elbows…suddenly she felt lost. She wasn’t sure what she wanted. Noodles bored her, the shells were okay, but the elbows, well the elbows were bland sometimes.
“This is why you’ll never get that kid,” she murmured staring at her pasta choices. “Can’t choose pasta, can’t choose a man.”
Helena sighed and decided on closing her eyes and choosing what her hand touched first. She came up with shells. She put the package into the cart with a shrug. She could always find a good recipe online for them. Mmm…she’d liked the one she’d made for that guy she’d met at the gym a month ago. The relationship had died after two dates, but the Zucchini Pasta, that had tasted good. She was suddenly hungry for it, so she made a beeline for the vegetable aisle. She didn’t want to detour to the market to get the zucchini might as well buy them here.
She got the zucchini, and got sidetracked by the sight of huge strawberries in their packages. Well, the strawberries were good looking, but the tall handsome man checking out the carrots was distracting too.
Helena picked up the strawberry package and feigned rapt interest.
Damn it what was a good line.
It would need to be perfect; he looked too refined for a comment on the weather. Her mind was blank. Her gaze followed him as he shifted to the herbs, studying cilantro as though he knew what he was doing. He had to be a keeper. A man who could cook, her insides trembled, just itching to go over and talk to him.
She couldn’t help the scowl when a pretty blonde-haired lady came up to him with a wide smile. Jealousy flooded her as returned the smile and leaned to brush her cheek with a kiss. Dumping the strawberries into the cart, Helena quickly moved on from the vegetable aisle.
She needed Parmesan cheese and chicken for the zucchini pasta recipe. This time, she kept her gaze on the chicken when a great smelling guy stopped beside her to get beef patties.
Helena wondered why it was so hard for her to approach men. The ones she did approach turned out to be married, in relationships or had commitment phobia. She chose her chicken, and decided to tell her mother that she was going to die a spinster. A chuckle escaped as she got the Parmesan cheese, and a lady walking by gave her a confused look.
Yeah, keep wondering, sister, Helena thought. I might look great, but my heart is in a dozen pieces.
Recipe accounted for, Helena headed to the lotion section. She was running out of her favorite coconut lotion. As always the many varieties on the aisle had her salivating. She knew the one she wanted already, but damn if she could afford one of each on the aisle, she’d buy them all.
Helena curbed her impulse buying gene and reached for the bottle she used daily in a faithful regime. Coconut butter did wonders for her skin. Putting it in her cart, she glanced up in time to see another guy standing a few feet from her. What was it today with all the handsome men?
This one though was smiling at her with interest. She blushed when he moved closer. His smile was captivating.
Her heartbeat raced.
“Hi,” he said.
Helena smiled. “Hey.”
“I just wanted to tell you that you have a tissue stuck on the back of your jeans.”
“What?” Helena stared at him in horror.
“A piece of tissue,” the man said, pointing to her back.
Helena reached back fast, her cheeks flaming, when her fingers touched a soft paper. She tugged at it, as it was lodged in her waistband and it came off easily. Good lord, had she swaggered through this whole supermarket with a tissue for a tail?
“Lord, sink me now,” she said.
The handsome man chuckled and walked away.
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