I won’t be called Patty

An old lady came in to the shop to ask me about some books. She asked me my name and then told me hers, Pat. But not Patty.

She had a walker, one with wheels, and she leaned comfortably against the counter to tell me things. She had white hair, large glasses, a reliable light cardigan, and eyes that roamed from childhood to last year, and all around the shop, lingering on the dog tied up outside, and settling on me again with pleasure.

‘I’ve been called Trish, Rish, Tisha and Po. And that’s ok, I don’t mind them. But I won’t be called Patty. I had a teacher as called me that, in front of the others. Not a nice teacher either. Once a cousin called me ‘Patty’. God, I did I go off at her, the bitch.’

Illustration by Inge Look