You never listen to me!
......she screamed at him in the Thirsty Camel bottle shop adjoining the supermarket.
He stormed out, his unzipped tracksuit top so big it resembled a cobalt blue cape as the automatic doors slide open.
Yeah get fucked, fuck off, no wonder the cops always get ya, you're no good you dickhead and YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!
Sapphire's eyes widened in horror and her little hand snuck out to reach the one I wasn't using to put our bags and packets on the moving belt at the check out. "No Mum! Don't look over there! She'll come over and hit us!"
A tall version of Angry Anderson ushers her out, his task made difficult by her tiny size and furious struggles and the automatic door opening when he needs it closed, and closed when he wants to shove her through it.
Dunno why you're chucking me out when it's HIS - she throws an empty packet of fags in the direction of the door - fault! He's the one that's banned from this place, not me! Stop touching me you fucking maggot get fucked I was just minding my own business and have some shopping to do because I'm a free person. I'm FREE!
"Mum!" Sapphire tugged my arm. "Stop looking!"
I try to explain to her that we're safe, we're OK and that she won't hurt us but is hurting herself. That drug abuse, alcohol, poverty and crap nutrition and education has meant that her life now revolves around ranting in the streets, putting up with domestic violence and smoking herself into a prematurely wrinkled, stooped and stinking puddle. That it's not a life that anyone chooses for themselves and that we should be sympathetic rather than sneering and---
"Shoosh Mum, they'll hear you!"
Just as Angry Anderson is dusting his hands and putting the cardbard Bacardi stand back upright, her caped-crusading partner strides back in, not realising that she's only three metres away, still yelling both of you are dickheads by the ATM.
Where is she? What have youse done with her you bastards? Did you touch her? Where the fuck is she? I'll call the cops on you because you can't do what you did to us, where is she? ANSWER ME!
The entire supermarket is now transfixed; the din he's creating overpowers the beep-beep of the cash registers and the 1980s FM on the sound system. Angry Anderson points outside and he sees his partner and wheels around, still swearing - stupid fucking bastard so up yourself thinking you can treat me and my Renee like shit and being embarrassed in front of everyone stupid arsehole prick - puts his arm around her and they walk off, companionably and quietly, into the sunny car park.
Sapphire's grip relaxes and the girl at the check-out recommences her beep-beepings. "Thank god I don't live in this suburb," she says, rolling her eyes at me.
"I do," I say, "And I love it here."
"So do I," says Sapphire.
We load the car and I wheel the trolley back. Sapphire's already sitting in the front seat and I spy the now-happy couple sharing some smokes and a long-necked beer out of a paper bag on the park bench next to the trolley bay.
I leave the two dollar coin in the slot.