“Mummy, what’s that lady doing?”
Jenny pushed Tom before her, guiding him past the other shoppers with a gentle, but insistent, hand on his shoulder. The sports shop closed in five minutes, and she had to make sure she got the right golf balls. She bought the wrong ones last time, and Mark had not been happy.
Tom craned his neck to look at the woman as they passed her by. She was holding a sign he couldn’t read, and shouting, her face determined.
“What does… ‘por-testing’ mean?”
The first spots of rain fell, and one landed on Jenny’s nose and made her jump. She reached out and pulled Tom’s hood over his head. Why hadn’t she brought the pushchair? At three and a half he was getting too old for it, but it sure made shopping trips quicker.
“Pro-testing,” Jenny corrected. “When you’re annoyed about something, you can tell everyone why and ask them to help you change it.”
“Like when Daddy is annoyed with you?”
Jenny smiled and shook her head. “Not quite, Tom. Bigger things than that. Come on, we need to hurry.”
The shop was in sight now, in the distance. As she herded Tom towards it, she saw a fit-looking guy in a polo shirt come to the door and flip the sign from Open to Closed.
“Shit!” Jenny couldn’t help herself.
She picked him up now and swung him into her arms, ignoring the sharp pain in her back from her fall down the stairs the week before. Mark didn’t want her to go to the doctors, but she might have to, because it was getting worse. Tom gave a cry of surprise as she began to run towards the shop, every step making her gasp.
The guy was outside the sports shop locking the door now.
“Wait!” called Jenny, “Please…”