Sarah held her mother’s hand. They were in the middle of the Mall and the noise of the other people made it difficult for her to listen to what her mother was saying to the stranger. She picked up the word ‘forget’ but apart from that she didn’t really know what her mother was saying to the man. All Sarah knew was that she saw the stranger as an obstacle, someone who was delaying her mother from bringing her into the store and buying her the dress. Frustrated she pulled on her mother’s arm.
‘I’m coming Sarah, just one minute.’
Sarah waited for the minute and pulled on her mother’s arm again but there was no reaction. She wanted the dress more than anything and started to imagine what she would look like in it. It was bright red with a white belt around the centre and a matching white collar. She was getting impatient and whoever the stranger was, he was definitely getting in the way of her getting the new dress. She looked at him coldly. He was taller than her mother, had short black hair with a little grey at the sides and his nose looked like a pig’s nose, that’s what Sarah thought. She pulled on her mother’s arm again. This time there was anger in her mother’s voice.
‘In a minute Sarah!’
Sarah blamed the stranger on her mother’s reaction and that made her dislike him even more. She stared at his nose again and imagined pulling it. She wanted to kick him so that he would go away but when she looked at his shoes she thought better of it. They were big, black shoes. If he kicked her back he would mark her bare legs.
Still impatient Sarah lifted up the arm of her mother’s coat so that she could see her watch. It was ten past, the store closed in twenty minutes. She thought about not getting the dress, that upset her more and she pulled on her mother’s arm again but her mother didn’t respond, instead she was telling the stranger
‘It was a long time ago.’
Sarah wondered what her mother was talking about but couldn’t think of anything that made sense to her apart from when she had heard her mother talking to her father about a man that she had once known. She had said it was a long time ago. Sarah looked up at her mother again.
‘Mum, the dress.’
Again her mother didn’t respond. Sarah was really starting to worry now. Her mother had promised her that she could get the dress today but now it didn’t look like that would happen. The stranger was more important to her mother than the dress. She started to look at other people in the Mall with their shopping bags. She wanted a bay too, one that had her red dress in it.
Eventually Sarah’s mother stopped talking to the stranger and they began walking towards the store. As they were walking Sarah asked her mother who the stranger was.
‘Someone I knew from a long time ago.’
Swinging her mother’s arm Sarah wondered was he the same man that had made her father angry. She could understand it if he was, he made her angry too, but the thought was only fleeting. She was finally getting her new dress.