I picked up my old duffel bag. I'd brought the one I used at school, because I usually ended up buying soooo many books. I had also put a light jacket in the bag in case it became chilly ("Chilly this time of the year? We do get summer in England, you know. Well, some years anyway." I could almost hear Kitty laughing. "You are just like your mother - prepared for every conceivable catastrophe.").
"So, did you find anything you'd like?" Grandma's voice asked me.
I jumped. She had marched right next up to me without my noticing. She moved as silently as a hunter in the movies.
"Nnn...no, not yet!" I stammered.
"Want to look some more?" Grandma was already carrying a few books herself. "There are some books I could still go over for a while."
"Sure, maybe a while longer."
I did not admit even to myself, that the reason I wanted to stay was to see if the young man was somewhere in the store. He really was a sight for sore eyes...Kitty's laughter seemed to sound again in my head. "A sight for sore eyes? You sound middle-aged sometimes. Eye candy, Dana, eye candy!"
But I did not see him again, which I found a bit strange, considering that I had a direct view to the store door over the shelves, and I was absolutely certain he had not gone out. Surely no one would use the back exit to a store. Unless he was staff?
In the end, I did buy two books - one about cat breeds, as I'd planned, and another about the pyramids of Egypt. It was one of my dreams to travel to Egypt. My father had promised he would take me there, when I graduated. But the turmoil of late, after the unrest of the Arab spring, was making my father reconsider his agreement.
Carrying her heavy bag of books with considerable ease Grandma then dragged me across the street to a clothes store, to "supplement your wardrobe" as she put it.
"You look as though you're wearing someone's grandmother's hand-me-downs, my girl!" She shook her head. "And I am not talking about myself!"
Obviously not. She was always so casually elegant. One of those ladies who looked good in everything she wore - though it was mostly jeans and some exciting blouse or jacket. Her trimmed body of course played a big role in that. I had long had the suspicion that she lived in a combined gym and beauty parlor. No one should be so fit at her age. She looked like a long distance runner.
After buying me a new pair of jeans ("Oh forget the baggy ones!") and three shirts ("Don't even think cowboy-style!") she yanked me off to a shoe store.
Eventually I looked like a born again shopper with all the bags I was carrying, and I got approving and slightly envious glances from my classmates who happened to walk past us when we headed for a cafe.
"Hi, Dana!" Elaine waved a tanned hand so that the gold bracelets on her slender wrist clinked together. "Nice jeans!"
I managed what I hoped was a laid-back smile, while I tried to stay erect in my high-heels and make out I wore them every day. ("Don't you ever be ashamed of being tall! And keep your knees locked - nothing looks worse than someone in high heels with their knees bent," I remembered Grandma's advice). High-heels, for heaven's sake! What was Grandma thinking! But obviously I had done something to get the approval of the Blonde Section - Elaine and her giggling court. All in different shades of blond hair color: ash blonde, strawberry blonde, bombshell blonde and golden blonde.
We weren't exactly on the same page, even though superficially I looked the part that day. I was a bookworm, for one thing. They called me "a nerd" and also English terms that I hadn't understood at first, because I never knew the latest singers or make-up trends, and wasn't interested in movie stars or the latest sighting of whoever happened to be Hot in their books. They mimicked my American accent and made fun of me, but they avidly tried to dress and act like the American High School teenagers that they saw in TV programs. Knowledge of history didn't rate very highly on their list of "what's hot". When I'd once told them that I wanted to study Egyptology, they had looked back at me with blank eyes. Finally one of them had said "Egyptology? What the hell's that?" emphasising her words in a way that indicated I was a freak, in their own terms. Still, I wasn't considered an enemy, because I posed no obvious threat to them on the dating scene, being so tall and not wearing much makeup, and with my mind being off on other things a lot of the time.
I managed a relaxed wave and walked past the Blond Section, feeling their eyes on my back. Their combined perfumes hit us like a wall as we passed.
"You do need some nice high heel shoes, now that you are turning into a gorgeous young woman, Dana," Grandma commented, as though she'd been reading my thoughts on the Blonde Section and dating. "At home you can loll around in whatever you want, but when you go out on a date..." she made some appropriate noises in imitation of a man's approval. I was waiting for her to give one of her loud, shrill wolf-whistles - that was another one of Grandma's skills - but thankfully on this occasion, she didn't burst my eardrums.
I sighed and rolled my eyes.
"Not you too! Mom is always trying to find out if I've got a guy hidden away somewhere!"
Grandma laughed out loud and voiced her doubts as to what my mother would do if she actually found a boyfriend hidden in my room. While the scene of such an event played vividly in my mind, Grandma opened the door to a little coffee shop. She rushed to meet and greet her old friend, who ran the shop, and as that would likely take a few moments, I went ahead and sat down to a table next to the window. I reached for my cell phone in my bag and felt something that should not have been there.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish