Short Fiction ~ S.B. Borgersen
(Second Prize, Strands International Flash Fiction Competition - 2)
The Drugmart advertisement in Saturday’s paper caught Beryl’s eye. YesterYear with Yardley it said, under a grainy picture. The illustration struck a chord: of her and Howard going to the pictures; going to the fair; going on the train to the seaside. Howard was good at deciding where and when to go. Goodness they had such times together.
Beryl never went down the High Street. Even now, she didn’t know if she should. In the end she got off the bus before she had chance to change her mind for a fourth, or was it a fifth time? Unused to the roar of the traffic, she wondered about removing her hearing aid. But then again, she wouldn’t be able to hear if someone hooted. Would she?
Beryl soon found Drugmart. She wanted to go on Wednesday, but couldn’t decide whether to wear her red or navy coat. By the time she’d decided, she’d missed the bus and they only ran twice a week. Howard had been gone for over twenty years, but it was still hard without him. He would have said, “Wear the red one Toots,” right off the bat.
The cosmetics department with its glossy consultants lured Beryl in. She pulled off her plastic rain hat and fluffed up her perm, glancing in one of the many mirrors, wondering who the wizened, tired face looking back at her belonged to.
“Can I help you?” the glossy consultant smiled a painted smile.
“Um,” said Beryl. “Er, I think it was Pink Capri. The lipstick.”
“Pink Capri?” said Miss Glossy, “let’s see what we have in our Retro Range.”
Beryl slumped against the counter. She heard faint voices. People’s faces were just a blur mingling with shiny articles swimming up and around her: mirrors with old crones, bottles and potions, racks of lipsticks, and the life-sized grainy photo of her and Howard at the fair.
A teary Miss Glossy stood beside Beryl’s cordoned off lifeless body waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She gently tucked a lipstick in Beryl’s red coat pocket. “I found your Pink Capri,” she said.
Internationally published, S.B. Borgersen writes, knits socks, and walks her smashing dogs on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Her favoured genres are short and micro fiction, and poetry. She has thirteen draft novellas gathering dust.
A member of The Nova Scotia Writers’ Federation, Writers Abroad, and a founding member of The Liverpool Literary Society, Sue judged the Atlantic Writing Competition (Poetry) 2016 and Hysteria (Poetry) 2017.