Lesley Anne Collins is fascinated by shopping lists, so much so that she collects them, then imagines a short story inspired by each list. All shopping lists re-produced here are genuine and collected by Lesley in and around our local supermarkets. If you’ve ever written a shopping list and left it behind in your trolley, you may just see it appear here.
Between the long, black and cheerless night sky and the sleeping rooftops, Benjamin could barely make out the red-green hues of a new born dawn. In reality, it was still the witching hour and far too early to knock at his neighbour’s house.
“Go on, knock,” the night-time taunted him, as Benjamin stood before the black door, “I dare you.”
He had to knock. He had no other choice.
Have courage, be kind, and never give up, his mother had told him.
Benjamin clenched his fist and twitched as a sleepless wren called out a single chirp.
Scanning sideways, Benjamin rapped his cold knuckles on the hard front door and waited. The night smelled cold. A spring frost still nipped at the neighbourhood, and children still danced every day in colourful stripy hats and scarves.
Benjamin still waited. The neighbour’s garden showed the first signs of spring. Frilly tulips closed up and cuddled together to guard against the chill, whilst the daffodils defiantly stared back at the night, refusing to be scared of the dark.
He knocked again. Harder. And this time a light came on, as sleepy footsteps hit the stairs.
Benjamin took a step back.
“Who is it?” came the voice from inside.
“It’s Benjamin from next door.”
“What’s up?” The door was still firmly shut.
“I have an unexpected visitor who has just arrived, he’s come such a long way and I have nothing to give him. If you have some bread and milk, and maybe some ham and cheese then I can feed him. I can pay you back tomorrow.”
“Benjamin, go away,” came back the voice. “It’s the middle of the night and you’ll wake my kids!”
As the light was slammed off, quiet footsteps ascended the stairs into silence.
As Benjamin’s warm breath evaporated around him, he stood firm and knocked again. And again.
As the light came on for a second time, Benjamin was resolute.
Have courage, be kind and never give up.
This time the door opened six inches.
“Just bread, milk, cheese and ham,” Benjamin repeated quietly.
As the carrier bag was handed back through the door, the light was once again extinguished and the door closed.
“I don’t need repaying,” murmured the neighbour.
Benjamin smiled as he headed back down the garden path and opened the bag. Although he could barely make out the contents in the inky darkness, he could see several objects. Cheese and ham, he assumed. What he could see, however, were three loaves.
Have courage, be kind, and never give up.
by Lesley Anne Collins © 2016