Mrs Clark.

Tonight I'm pouring glass after glass of delicious sauvignon blanc, making boxes upon boxes of perfect popcorn and steaming up my forehead making average lattes and wannabe cappuccinos. I'm up-selling like crazy, getting overexcited at new faces and suggesting endless extras until I'm met with utter spent bewilderment. Today, I'm cherishing every minute of my short 'n' sweet shift. After a double-shift day yesterday, every hour is flying by tonight. My favourites are all in, and nothing's slowing the flow.

Enter my lady; with perfectly pressed hair and dressed in the softest scarlet coat that instantly makes me think of sleigh bells. I take her in, assessing slowly, appreciating her kindly face and her bejeweled fingers.
'Are you a member with us, at all? Would you like to be one, perhaps?'

'Oh, I would actually - do I fill out something here?'
In a flash I pass her a form; she's filling it out with fancy lettering, all caps with Greek E's. I ask if there's anyone she'd like to share her membership with, another name to add to the form, someone to share the perks with - 'a partner, perhaps?'
Her head down, eyes focused, pen scribbling away; 'Well my husband's dying of cancer, so I don't expect he'll be coming to the cinema very much longer...'
I freeze. She's so flippant, so un-frazzled. I raise a hand to my mouth. 'I'm so, so sorry, madam...'
'Oh no, it's quite fine... My cousin! She'd love to share this with me! I shall put her name...'

And a few minutes later she's gone, leaving behind her fancy penmanship and rosy air. She can't have been more than fifty. Mrs Clark, husband dying. Miss Clark. How awful. Maybe she has children. They'd be grown by now. Grandchildren? Possibly. Oh, my.
Why do bad things have to happen? Why must someone like Mrs Clark be faced with this in what should be her golden, happier years? The peaceful winter of her life is now peppered with rain clouds, and St Jude is bearing down.
I wonder how long she's known, how long she's been living with this black poisonous sucking creature in her life, killing the man she loves and destroying their lives together in one fell swoop. It must have been a while by now, since she's so casual and mentioning it to young barmaids she's just met. Is casual the word? No. There was something behind her eyes. Strength. Resilience. Fight. She won't be alone, not ever. She has enough to keep her going. Now, she's making the most of what she has.
Mrs Clark will be fine.


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