I like the way they enter the shop, strongly, not opening the door but crashing it out of their way. They are scarves and swirls. They are orange and nutmeg. They are loud, beautiful, and their jewellery is long.
When they came in, one said, ‘My God, a BOOKstore’, and they entered magnificently.
“It’s Dune. It’s making a comeback.’
‘For God’s Sake.’
‘I love Dune.’
‘So did I, but isn’t it dated…’
‘You can’t beat Georgette Heyer, is what I always say.’
Her friends look at her kindly.
‘There’s a new book by…who was it…?’
‘Look at this.’
They argue about Family Circle. They are loud. They are not in agreement about the basics. One of them has a grown child who is causing anxiety. One grips the arm of another. They lean close to read the titles on the Young Reader table; one says, ‘Don’t they read some good things these days, look at this with the dragons on it.’
But they have to go. They move as an army, knowing precisely when and how to move, and why. How to defeat the enemy. They are ladies of a magnificent age. I do not want them to go. I want to know things. But they have to go; there is work to do.
When they leave, one says, ‘Do you want to try for a loaf of bread next door?’
They go. They leave, taking Georgette Heyer and Family Circle Jams and Preserves. Undefeated, always.
Illustration by Inga Look