|strrynighte (strrynighte) wrote,|
@ 2010-03-17 11:00:00
Title: A Woman's Place
Lirael waved good-bye as she left Andrew's apartment, walking to her own apartment to get dressed. Looking in the mirror, Lirael decided that a quick shower was in order that morning—she could always put her hair up in a quick ponytail if she didn't have enough time to dry it.
Refreshed from her warm shower and the soothing scents of her shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, Lirael felt much better prepared to face the light of day and the world at large. She stood in front of her closet wrapped in a towel with a second towel twisted in a turban on her head holding her wet hair hostage. She contemplated her rather depleted wardrobe for her choices of attire for that day—obviously it is time to do laundry again if the pickings are this slim, she decided. In the end, she chose a simple light blue button down shirt and a pair of white shorts to complete the ensemble. She rolled up the sleeves of the shirt, more comfortable with her freedom of movement that way than with the sleeves left long.
Dressed, she moved to the bathroom once more; removing her turban-twisted towel from the top of her head on the way, she was ready to comb out her long smooth black hair. Having brushed it out, Lirael decided it would be better to braid her hair instead of putting it into a ponytail, so she quickly brushed her hair over her right shoulder and began braiding it, not too tight, but not too loose either, from where her hair came over her shoulder instead of at the base of her skull as she would have done had she wanted her hair in a very tight braid so as not to come loose, which she didn't want this time.
Just as she finished wrapping a blue hair band around the tip of her braid, a knock came at the front door. Walking quickly through her apartment, Lirael went to answer it. When she got to the front door she hesitated, unwilling to open the door without knowing who was there—there were no peepholes in the apartment doors in this apartment building complex.
"Who is it?" She called nervously.
"It's Andrew, Lirael, and Jamie of course," Andrew answered promptly, glad to see that Lirael was taking precautions to protect herself as best as she could given the fact that she lived alone in an apartment building complex with minimal security.
Lirael opened the door gladly at that point, excited to spend the day with Andrew and Jamie, especially after the way that he had helped her last night.
"Let's go!" she exclaimed with exuberance.
Andrew led the way to the elevator, slowed by little Jamie's faltering footsteps. Lirael followed, amused at the sight the pair made: tall Andrew leaning over to hold his tiny son tightly by the hand so as to help hold him up when he tripped and started to fall face forward to the floor.
At the elevator doors, Andrew lifted Jamie up so that the toddler could push the call button for the elevator. Surprisingly, the elevator was already at the third floor, so there was no waiting for the elevator to arrive at the third floor. The trio clambered inside the elevator, Andrew again lifting Jamie and pointing out the correct button to press when Jamie would have pushed the button for the sixth floor instead of the button for the first floor.
They arrived at the first floor without any further mishaps. The elevator doors dinged, announcing their arrival and Andrew, Jamie, ensconced in Andrew's arms, and Lirael exited the elevator. Andrew and Lirael nodded and waved hello to the concierge Mr. Billy Joe Bob at the front desk, and little Jamie waved and shouted "Hi!" enthusiastically.
Outside, Andrew led the way to his car, as it had a car seat for Jamie and Lirael's did not. Inside the car and firmly buckled up, Andrew, Jamie, and Lirael were ready for their adventure to the grocery store—sure to be a wondrous and hair pulling affair what with an excited toddler along for the ride.
At the grocery store, the first thing Andrew did was to grab a large cart with a baby seat and promptly plopped Jamie in and strapped him down safely. Then, Andrew and Lirael made their way to the first aisle. They put in the large cart beans, white rice, bread, pancake batter mix, milk, eggs, butter, sandwich meat, sliced cheese, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, oranges, peaches, bananas, tomatoes, hamburger meat, chicken breasts, dinner sausage, breakfast sausage, cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, canned green beans, canned peas, canned corn, canned tomato soup, canned potato soup, potatoes, onions, garlic, vegetable cooking oil, a dark chocolate cake mix, mini chocolate chips to go in the dark chocolate cake mix, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, pork chops, tofu, ground coffee beans and coffee filters to appease her caffeine addiction, creamer to go with her coffee, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, dish soap, dish scrub brush, sink bleacher and-or cleaner, rubber gloves, a broom, a mop, mop liquid soap, liquid hand soap and a bar of hand soap, a dust pan to match her broom, a duster, a box or two of Kleenex, a small bottle of Tylenol, laundry soap, and dryer sheets, a toy that had caught Jamie's eye and he refused to go on without, a razor for Andrew, and accompanying shaving cream, a book that Andrew said he had been waiting for desperately to be published, and a few other things here and there.
Slowly but surely, the trio made their way back up to the front of the grocery store with their large cart that was overflowing with bounty. The woman manning the register stared with disbelief at their approach. At first, Lirael thought it was because of the size of Andrew's purchase; after all he had filled the basket to its full capacity, and then some.
But when the woman, whose tag claimed her name to be Taylor, greeted Andrew cordially by name and carried on a light, gay conversation of small talk with him, Lirael's thoughts were unraveled. What was she staring at then? Lirael wondered silently. This looks like it is a regular occurrence for Andrew, the man she thought with exasperation at men in general. In fact, I bet he and Jamie go through every possible item of food in the house, apartment really, before going grocery shopping—hence the need to practically empty the entire store into the large cart.
Lirael let her thoughts subside into silence as she moved to refill the emptying conveyor belt with more items from the cart that had yet to be scanned. Jamie helped her by gleefully screeching out the name of each item she placed on the conveyor belt—of course, not all of the names he shouted with such joy were exactly understandable or correct.
Taylor, the cashier, scanned the multitude of groceries that came flying down the conveyor belt as fast as she could, trying to get them out of the grocery store in a reasonable amount of time while still being courteous. There were two bagging boys at the end of the second conveyor belt, frantically stuffing all their purchases into bags and then placing the bags into a second large cart. Lirael noticed them as she continued to unload the original cart with Jamie in the front baby seat, happily chattering away at Lirael and other passerby. Andrew soon joined Lirael in her efforts of unloading the overflowing grocery cart, though by now, the cart's fill was severely diminishing, though the second cart was filling rapidly.
Finally, everything was loaded into the second, and third cart that had been recruited from nearby, and Andrew, Lirael, and little Jamie who was holding on tightly to Lirael's hand walking between the two, were on their way out the front of the grocery store, ready to head back to Andrew's apartment to put everything away.
Carefully strapping Jamie into his car seat in the back of his four-door sedan, Andrew pondered on how well Lirael seemed to be coping with the obvious stress from the night before. She's a very resilient woman, Andrew though to himself. I applaud her for pulling herself together and getting through her ordeal with grace and dignity. Not many women can say that about themselves, for that matter, not many other men can say that they have ever met someone of Lirael's caliber—she's like a medieval noblewoman, ready to do anything and everything to survive the brutal world that is just waiting to rip her to shreds and feed her to the wolves, like Mark Spencer. Andrew halted his rambling and wandering thoughts lest they give him away as he closed the door to the back seat and moved to help Lirael load the grocery bags stuffed with items into the spacious trunk of his car.
Eventually, the trunk was filled, with a few bags or ten overflowing into the back seat next to Jamie in his car seat and on the floor boards, with a few more bags squished in next to Lirael in the front then they were off to Andrew's apartment to unload again and put everything away.
They arrived without further ado in the apartment complex's parking lot and Lirael left to procure one of the large, bright neon orange colored bins with wheels that she had used so long ago it seemed to move all of her things into her new apartment to help Andrew and her get everything inside in one go—it would certainly make life easier than trying to bring Jamie along for half a dozen trips up and down from the third floor, trying to carry as many bags as possible. Fortunately, Lirael seemed to be correct in her theory of Andrew's grocery shopping habits, for the concierge Mr. Billy Joe Bob had a neon orange cart already waiting for their return. Mr. Billy Joe Bob gestured grandly to the waiting neon orange cart, and Lirael thanked him profusely, keeping in with the game.
She wheeled the neon orange cart back outside to Andrew waiting by the open trunk of his car, Jamie held securely in his arms against him possibly running off in the middle of the moderately busy parking lot and the nearby street. Lirael and Andrew quickly loaded the numerous bags into the neon orange cart, keeping careful watch on Jamie as they did so. Finally, all of the bags were successfully loaded into the neon orange cart. Lirael picked up little Jamie from where he was thoroughly investigating some sort of creepy-crawly bug on the ground near one of the car's wheels, allowing Andrew the use of both his hands to push, pull, and generally coax the heavy and unwieldy neon orange cart inside to the elevator. They both nodded in passing to the concierge Mr. Billy Joe Bob, with Jamie squealing a cheery "Hi!" once more.
Upstairs, Andrew got the front wheels of the neon orange cart stuck in the one to two inch gap between the elevator and the elevator shaft momentarily, requiring Lirael to set Jamie down for a moment outside the elevator to lift and pull at the front of the cart to get the wheels out from the gap while Andrew pushed the back of the neon orange cart from inside the elevator. Minor crisis averted, the trio continued their way down the hallway back to Andrew and Jamie's apartment. At Andrew's front door, Lirael and Jamie sang a quick nursery rhyme song while they waited for Andrew to catch up with the cart and fish out his keys from the depths of his many pockets on his khaki cargo pants. Andrew opened the door, letting Lirael go inside first with Jamie to put him in his portable playpen to keep him occupied and out from underfoot while the adults got everything out from the neon orange cart and put away. Quickly, Lirael returned to the apartment's entryway and started picking up the bags Andrew had unloaded onto the floor from the neon orange cart. She brought them into the kitchen while Andrew continued to place bags on the floor by the front door from the neon orange cart. With their expert organizational system and assembly line expertise, Andrew and Lirael soon had the entire neon orange cart unloaded into the kitchen, kitchen table, and kitchen floor.
Lirael surveyed the land of the kitchen, which currently sported a very becoming look of bags covering every available surface. Andrew returned from bring the neon orange cart back to the concierge Mr. Billy Joe Bob on the first floor at the front desk, who had offered to take the cart to the utility room so that Andrew could get back upstairs faster. Lirael laughed at Andrew saying, "What do you do when it is just you and Jamie shopping together for groceries? He was handful between the two of us, how do you do it alone?"
"Very carefully," Andrew answered with a conspiratorial wink, "usually involving a babysitter, Margaret more often than not. If I can't get a babysitter, I just take him with me and hope he behaves himself. Using a stroller is a big help too; straps him in safely and I can drape some of the lighter bags over the handles too. It was much easier for sure when he was still small enough to put in a baby carrier on my back, though he did tend to pull my hair quite a bit when he got bored of being carried around," Andrew explained while he started pulling out items from bags and depositing them on seemingly random counter tops. Lirael took a closer look at where he was putting items; non-perishable foods went on the counter space next to the pantry, where Lirael assumed Andrew wanted them to go, perishable food items were sent to the counter top across from the refrigerator, and items that had nothing to do with food were placed on the kitchen table to be put away later after the food items were dealt with Lirael presumed.