As If She Was Coco Chanel Added£1.29
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(A short story of 2181 words)

As If She Was Coco Chanel


by Kath McKay

It was after midnight in the communal bathroom that I caught Aggie wearing the English woman’s pyjamas.

Aggie was a thin, blonde haired woman in her fifties, with an attitude. Every day I passed her as she smoked long, expensive looking cigarettes outside the front door of the hostel. She never acknowledged me, although I’d stayed at the hostel often, sometimes for two weeks. At breakfast, she sat by herself in the corner, and tilted her body against others. Held herself proudly, but trembled at times. Always the same corner.

If anyone took Aggie’s place, while they were up collecting breakfast she’d move their crockery and cutlery to another table. No one ever argued.

Aggie stood out from the other long term residents, who mostly had a hang dog, apologetic expression, and flitted round like ghosts, late at night. They were old and unbeautiful in the midst of young travellers. Aggie was defiant; she wanted to be noticed. Her hair was bottle blonde, dry and stringy. At mealtimes I never saw her eat more than a slice of toast, yet she drank cup after cup of black coffee. I didn’t blame her for not eating. The food looked appealing, but the cereal tasted dusty, the French toast was over sweetened cardboard, and the self-service waffle machine offered up waffles that were salty and sugary at the same time, and left you feeling empty. Every morning some rookie would forget to oil the machine before they cooked a waffle, and the staff would come out from the kitchen and scrape out the burnt remains...

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