The Winter Jacket

I needed a new winter jacket. Something smart, stylish and classy that did not scream, ‘Discount rack!’

I had been looking for a few weeks. As usual, everything that I liked or fitted well was incredibly expensive. But last Saturday, there was an advert in the newspaper for one of my favourite stores where I had loved a jacket. I had tried it on and it fit beautifully. The colour, style, length, it was all perfect except for the price and I had reluctantly left it in the shop and walked away. Yet here it was at less than half price! Making it very affordable for me and a whole crowd of other people too. “I must get to it quick” I thought. Putting the paper down and calling to the husband and kids to tell them I was going out, very soon.

But the plumber was coming to fix the new showerhead so my husband offered to stay home. One of the children had a birthday party to go to but that was on the way so I could drop him off. The other one needed new shoes so I could take her with me. I made the children eat breakfast and dress in a great hurry. I knew many people would have the same idea as me.

“Hurry! Hurry!” I shouted as I dashed through the house, getting myself fed and dressed as I coaxed everyone along. The children got dressed in such a hurry that one of them had their clothes on inside out. The other one decided to drink her toast rather than chew it! The result was a spectacular clean up on the kitchen floor.

I didn’t realise the inside out clothes until I was driving down the freeway. I couldn’t drop off a child to a birthday party dressed like that! I had to pull up on the side of the road to sort out the clothes. My phone was ringing, it was my husband and I ignored it. At the party drop off, there was no parking in their driveway, too many parents delivering children at the same time. I had to park further down the street and walk my child to the birthday party. Thankfully, my husband had neither left a message nor rung again, so it must have been something trivial.

We were on our way to my winter jacket once again now. The shopping centre car park was full and I couldn’t help but think that everyone was going to try and buy ‘my’ winter jacket. I had to park far away from the shopping centre entrance. As we entered the building, I heard the unwanted, “Mum, can I have a donut? I’m really hungry.” I was about to say that we’d all just had breakfast, when I remembered that this one had lost it to the kitchen floor. So I said, “Yes, have it.” Anything, not to have a cranky child at the shops. But they were out of donuts so we bought a large milkshake instead and went to the jacket shop. It was very busy since everything was less than half price that day. The phone was ringing again. I glanced at it, hubby dearest again. Really! I’d been out of the house only 40 minutes and this was the third call. I ignored it. Whatever it was, could keep for another hour and I would be home.

We entered haloed battleground- a clothes shop with a super sale on. I had my handbag hitched firmly on one shoulder and my daughter’s hand in one of mine. This left one hand completely free to push my way to the section with the winter jackets. There was no space to move, only the most skilful would forge through and I did. My elbow was touching the end of my handbag and I could feel the phone vibrating over and over. I could faintly hear the ringtone, it was that man again…. the one I’d married!

I finally got to the winter jackets. I was visibly palpitating now. So far, I had seen three women take winter jackets towards the checkout. I was hoping ‘my’ jacket was still there. It was! I couldn’t believe I had found it in this crush. It fit perfectly, it looked lovely and now it was mine. We headed in the direction of the checkout. The queues were long and slow. As we waited in line, my daughter needed the toilet. I was reluctant to leave my place in the queue but the milkshake, it seemed, had no such problem. All around us, women seemed to be buying clothes for the rest of their lives. My daughter began to dance from one foot to the other, the queue wasn’t moving and she really needed to go. Finally, the lady behind us took pity on the little girl with the hard-hearted mother and agreed to hold our place in the queue.

Eventually we got home with the precious cargo of my winter jacket. As we walked to the front door, I checked my phone. There were 8 missed calls from my husband and I had already begun my rant to him in my head, when the front door flung open and he ran out saying, “Why won’t you answer the phone? After you left, I reached for the newspaper. It was open on that advert you saw and the last line of that winter jacket sale which was covered by your coffee cup read … “All sizes, styles and colours available. Order online for free express delivery and a $50 gift voucher!”



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