“My god, is that rap music again? I detest that blather! Can’t a person walk into a store in a shopping mall without hearing that monotone blabbering all the time?” Miss Quaintly was one of the older generation to put it mildly. She was ninety-six and everyone was counting. Every person she knew, at least the few that remained out of obligation, were counting the days. They started counting years after ninety, but Miss Quaintly was referred to as a tough old bird.
“Henry, fetch me a cup of tea, I’m already feeling weary.” The old woman sank into the wrought iron chair outside a tea shop/cafe. The stop for tea would mark one of many stops along the mall walkway. She was getting slower every day, but not slow enough that she refused to let others do her Christmas shopping. “Good god, can’t they provide a better chair than these hard ones?” She let her cane rest on the bar separating the cafe tables and the moving crowd.
“People, more than you can count, always hurrying. What are they running to? Gone are the days of small street shops where you could browse unique items for gifting. Now it’s all lights, horrid music blasting in my ears and the prices!” Thankfully Henry brought the tea and she paused her complaining. Henry was her most recent family companion. The reluctant boy turned his gaze to the ground. It was his turn, he thought to himself, his turn to be the one. Every brother had done it and now it was his turn to be at Miss Quaintly’s beck and call. He was imagining how he wished he was hanging out with his friends here in this mall, just having fun, when her voice rang shrill again.
“Henry! Where in god’s name are you? You look like you’ve lost your last penny!”
Henry straightened himself up and looked at the wrinkled face. He was surprised to see a concerned look on her face, actually softer than usual. He wondered if she really did care for him. “I’m okay, grandmother, no worries.” He picked up the cane, handed it to her and managed a practiced smile.