Need Some Shopping by D.H.L Hewa

It's a bright, sunny day. 

I enter the tunnel, on my way home. 

A small silver car passes slowly, stopping alongside the pavement, just ahead of me. 

The driver's eyes are watching me in the rear-view mirror.

Blinking, I look behind me, then ahead. 

There's no one else around. 

I am alone. 

A train transporting people rumbles overhead.  

I am alone. 

Focusing on the pavement I quicken my pace, but as I reach the parked Fiesta, the driver leans across the front passenger seat. Winds the window down.

'Hello there.'

Tugging my head up, I look into smiling eyes.

'Hi,' I reply.

'Like a lift?' he asks.

Looks harmless. 

Must work in the hospital with my parents. Must've recognised me. 

It's only a fifteen minute walk to our house, but I don't want to offend.


So.

I stop.

'Thank you.' 

Opening the car door I get in. 

Shutting it. 

Caging us together.

Leaning away from him, I watch his plump hands reflect in the windscreen as he changes gear, driving us on. 

'Where are you going?' he asks.

'Home,' I reply.

'Where's home?' he asks.


Oh God. 

A stranger. 

An express train hits me, blurring terraced houses, shops, church, on the familiar road. 

What if I open the door? Jump? How fast are we going? 

It's just three months since we came to the UK.

To start a new life.


'Oh, need some shopping. Drop me off here?' I say.

'Here? OK.' 

He stops outside the convenience store.

'Thanks.' 


Heart battering against my ribs, clutching my satchel, I step out, adjusting my school uniform. 

'Like to go for a drink?'

'Sorry, can't,' I say, putting on my best smile. 

'Come on, I don’t bite,' he says.

'No really. Thanks though.' 

Hands quivering I turn away, and stride into the shop.



Selected: Weekly Write #18

to be published in Issue #31

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