Flatland (2) Lesley Added£1.29
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(A short story of 3495 words)

Flatland (2) Lesley


by Suzanne Bowen

The second of two companion stories about people returning to their south-coast hometown. Both have disappointments and something to conceal.

Lesley is wishing that she hadn’t cropped her hair. Long hair would be useful now. Also, it is thick hair, perhaps unsuited to cropping. She had hoped that it would make her resemble anyone cool with pixie-cut hair. The obvious one was Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face or any of those models younger than herself by a decade. But on her it just seems to stick out and gives her an uncool big head. Actually, it doesn’t look too bad in the reflection in the window. It would have looked better if blonde (with roots) or dark, but it is auburn.

Just a moment ago, she saw Tony go into the Co-Co café. Her stomach jolted and her mood had spiralled downward. She hates that lack of control, that knowledge that she is now going to be miserable. Half-an-hour earlier, emerging from the City Lights Boutique (carrying a newly-purchased pair of ballet pumps in soft dark suede) she has already seen Ally go into the Co-Co, carrying some shopping – one bag obviously groceries, but the other a very large item obscured from view. Before that sighting, she had herself intended to get her lunch in Co-Co, which she far preferred to the café in which she is now sitting. But Tony frequents Co-Co and she would feel like a stalker (although there is no real reason why she should). Good thing she hadn’t gone in there though, or she’d have been trapped now, trying to be jolly; friendly and jolly and happy like it was all fine and she didn’t care. Now, here she is in the Acorn café opposite, surrounded by old people, with a flavourless sandwich and a double espresso she doesn’t really want. She feels displaced not only from him, but from what she considers to be her own territory. She also feels like a lightweight, with her expensive, showily packaged, purchases.

Today is a bright sharp day – blue sky, few clouds – the sort of day she loves, with all the promise of a new year; she should be happy. Sitting in the high window seat, she is terrified of being seen by them but she has to have an unimpeded view; she needs to be sure…


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