The pain-ridden journey to Cindy’s ended. He’d felt every bump in the supposedly high standard of roads. The Roads Department couldn’t claim to have the smoothest streets around.
Carefully installed on her sofa with pillow, blanket and TV remote, Synch would wait for the intensity to subside. He closed his eyes.
“Want some pain-killers?” Cindy asked.
“No, thanks,” he said softly. He didn’t like the pain. He disliked losing four hours of consciousness even more.
“Let me know if you want anything,” she said.
“Ok.” It was bearly audible.
“I’ll just let you rest now,” she added.
No answer. His eyes-lids shut her out. His chest rose and fell with shallow breathing.
She quietly did her chores, checking him regularly.
An hour and a half later she saw his arms raise in a stretch, heard deep intake of breath as he roused from sleep.
He smiled as she came into his view.
“Hungry?” she asked.
“Mmm! What did you have in mind?” he said reaching a hand out for her to come to him.
“As it’s dinner time you have a choice of four dishes from the freezer, all home cooked of course,” she said sitting carefully on the edge of the sofa.
His eyebrows flew up.
“I do a big cook-up once a fortnight,” she explained holding his hand. “Enough to last the two weeks and freeze it in serving size portions. That way I don’t have to cook every night.”
“What’s on the menu?”
“Lamb Stew, Chicken with Carrots and Silverbeet, Beef Stroganoff or Tuna Medley.”
His stomach gurgled.
“Lamb Stew sounds good,” he said.
“Coming right up,” she said leaving him.
“I haven’t had a chance to ask you what you think about this, ah, psychic thing I do,” he said.
“Ask away,” she said removing containers from the freezer.
“Well, are you alright with it?”
“Sure. Like I said, my Mum’s a witch.” He heard a door click shut, beeps then the microwave oven start up. Blended with the oven drone, china tinkled and cutlery rattled. “It’s all in the same department.”
“What do you mean?”
The droning stopped. Click. Scrape.
“Here,” she said handing him a plate of stew. Mmm! Diced lamb and vegies cooked in there own juices, seasoned, thickened and steaming hot. His mouth salivated.
Cindy sat opposite him with a plate on her knee.
“What I mean is, I think of my life as a huge department store,” she said ramming her fork into a meat cube. “Everything from witchcraft to reading zodiac predictions in the newspaper are all in the one department.”
She popped the chunk into her mouth.
“What department is that?” he asked between mouthfuls.
“This is fantastic,” he said licking his lips.
“Yeah, well, you haven’t eaten anything in thirty six hours. Cardboard pizza would taste great. You might think differently when your taste-buds are back on their feet.”
They ate quietly.
Synch finished first, leaned over and put his plate on the coffee table.
“What department am I in?” The half smile on his lips emitted hope.
“You were in the department for men. Now you’re in transit.” She swallowed and flushed slightly. “Final destination is up to you.”
He knew beyond doubt what department he wanted to be in.
By Diane L Wood
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