by Danica Green
I'm a creature of habit. Every time I have a hangover I'll always buy a ham sandwich and a mango. I don't even like mango but it's become a ritual, to the point that at 2pm every Sunday I walk to the store to find the security guard holding a basket with my shopping in, and he'll hand it to me with a wink. We've never spoken. I don't think he can speak. I always content myself with two sheepish grins, one for coming and one for going.
Liam's always on me to stop drinking, the tried and tested "think of the children" line burned into my brain, and my retaliation hopefully burned into his. I'm a model of respectability every other day of the week and Sundays spent drowning myself in coffee and mango flesh don't take anything away from that. If the kids ever asked me or Liam why mommy is always so sleepy on Sundays then maybe I'd reconsider but they wake up late, have breakfast and play in the yard all day. I barely register in their minds.
This Sunday I yearn for something different. Last night a friend extolled the virtues of the dragonfruit to me, garishly pink and green and spiky like a pineapple but apparently quite tasty. Of course when I reach the store he's waiting for me there, walkie-talkie in one hand, basket in the other and I don't have the heart to refuse his help. I take the basket and walk in slow circles around the fruit and veg section, eyeing up the dragonfruit with some suspicion and predictably walking back towards the exit with a mango, a ham sandwich and a receipt.
Stopping by the door I reach into the bag, pick up the mango and go to say something jovial, mouth working, open, closed, open, closed, a fish out of water. I look up into his brown eyes and see that he's just as uncomfortable with this change in our routine as I am. Plastering the grin back on my face I walk away, mango hanging limply in my hand.
Danica Green is a UK-based writer whose work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Smokelong Quarterly, Neon, PANK, Camel Saloon, threeminuteplastic and others. She sometimes does things over in this direction.