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As I stepped into the bustling supermarket, a sudden wave of unease washed over me, like a cold shiver down my spine. The fluorescent lights overhead seemed to flicker ever so slightly, casting a harsh, clinical glow that accentuated the chaos around me. The hum of countless conversations, the beeping of registers, and the rustling of plastic bags created a disorienting symphony that reverberated through the air.The aisles stretched out like a labyrinth, filled with towering shelves stocked with a bewildering array of products. I clenched and unclenched my hands.
’Mrs. Porter, how’s your aunt doing?’ A familiar voice asked me at the pasty isle. Renee’s doctor looked at me with his grey eyes through his round glasses. He oozed the calmness of a man in his fifties who figured out how life works.
’You’re a doctor Mr. Renault, I assume you know very well how she’s doing.’ I turned back to the sugar and looked down at the list in my hand. He stretched his arm and reached for a bag of sugar next to me, flashing his wedding ring. It bended around his ring finger as if it became a part of him. Just as natural as he knew which brand of sugar to choose.
’I understand what you’re going through.’ He smiled at me all-knowingly. The gap between his teeth was annoying.
’It’s insulting for you to even imply such thing. You don’t know me, I was just one of many visiting relatives.’ Another careless shopper bumped her cart against my side. I gave her a deadly stare.
This time Doctor Renault did a better job at defying my rudeness. ’Your wife has my number, she can call when it’s needed.’
I could imagine his composed aura was something that attracted his wife. Made her want to lean on him, rely on him. There was no crisis Doctor Renault couldn’t handle. So his kids would probably go to him first after they did something stupid. Perhaps I should have considered befriended him, instead of alienating him. ’I can’t think of any reason why she would reach out to you. You said it yourself; there’s nothing you can do.’
I hoped to see a crack in his facade. A twitching eyelid would already be satisfactory. But he looked at his expensive golden watch, probably a gift from his wife for their silver wedding anniversary, and gave me a smile – meant as a send-off. He had enough. ’’My wife is waiting.’