I’m trying something new, a little foray into fiction. I hope you enjoy it.
“This is awesome, perfect, exactly what I want,” she screamed in delight.
“But you’re lying on your back,” her friend declared. “How is that perfect?”
“Nope, don’t worry, just a little hiccup. It’ll all come down to balance.”
Her friend rolled her eyes and scoffed as she surveyed the scene before her. Marie lay on her back in the middle of the store precariously perched on top of a huge backpack, arms and legs flailing as she tried to get back on her feet.
“Beached whale doesn’t even begin to describe it,” said her friend as she bent down to help her up.
The morning had started normally enough. The friends had arranged to meet and go shopping for their trip to Italy. It was still months away but they couldn’t ignore the post-Christmas sales.
“I think I’m going to get a backpack for our trip”, Marie had told her friend just the week before. “It just seems to make sense. It isn’t always easy to lug a suitcase everywhere. I mean seriously, how the hell would you get a suitcase up the Spanish steps?”
“Well, you wouldn’t have it with you”, replied her friend with a tone suggesting she was a little crazy. “You’re a dill but I’ll come shopping with you. Someone’s got to keep you in check.”
The trip to Italy had been planned for years; the perfect way to celebrate a milestone 50th relaxing in the gorgeous hills of Tuscany. Marie is planning to be away for about a month and knows she’ll only manage if she takes the budget approach so backpacks seemed the way to go.
There’s a great little street in their town with half a dozen outdoor adventure places – perfect for everything they were looking for.
“So, I’ve got a list. Good walking shoes, adventure trousers and a backpack with wheels.”
Her friend stopped, they’ve always been supportive but this statement just begged for a comeback.
“Yep you know the ones. Light weight, easy to wash and wear, tough.”
“So, trousers then?”
“Special trousers,” Marie replied.
“Now, backpacks on wheels?” was her friend’s next question.
“Absolutely, let’s look at those first.”
They stood before the backpacks. It was a little daunting, some of them were huge, but Marie spotted exactly what she wanted.
Now, she’s not a tall girl. About 5’4” and the backpack that caught her eye stood about 3 feet. Her friend watched silently but if you looked carefully you could see one eyebrow slightly raised as she quietly questioned this decision.
“Look, its perfect,” Marie said as she rolled it along the carpet on its wheels. “Perhaps I better test carrying it.” She raised it up awkwardly and hefted it to her back.
“Why, it’s light. I can manage this, it’ll be easy,” as she swung around cannoning off clothes racks not realising her personal space was now 4 feet wide. “Let’s put something inside so I can try it with a bit of weight.”
Setting it down, she opened the zipper and started pulling out bags and bags of stuffing. Putting both their handbags inside, Marie closed the zipper and hoisted the bag to her back.
“Woah,”she cried as she tipped sideways.
“What do mean ‘woah’,”asked her friend. “You don’t even have it on your back yet.”
“I know, I know, I’m just trying to get my balance right.”
Her friend openly rolled her eyes now as she watched the chaos unfold.
Bracing herself, Marie bent her knees to get some stability.
“Ok, I’m good.”
“Now walk,” challenged her friend.
Grimacing, Marie stepped forward cautiously.
“Are you going to stand up straight?”
“Yep … maybe … not sure…”replied Marie as her arms started windmilling and like a tree felled in the forest she went down.
Once Marie was back on her feet, backpack on the floor, handbags extracted, clothes racks returned to order and stuffing returned she stopped to consider the bag.
“You know, maybe I’ll think about it for a bit. You know, I’m not young anymore and well, that was a little harder than I first thought. I’m not saying I won’t buy it but maybe I should look at other options first. Let’s go look at trousers now.” Marie declared sheepishly as she turned away from the bags.
“Oh look, trousers that turn into shorts … cool!”