Today’s sentence: “What can I get you today?”
The words were said in perfect innocence, but Jami fainted dead away to the floor.
When she awoke, she was in an unfamiliar room with a cool flannel on her forehead and a concerned member of staff at her side.
‘I’m so sorry. What happened?’
‘You fainted dear,’ the matronly woman told her. ‘There’s no problem. We’ve called the paramedics as a precaution. You sit right there and take it easy. Can I get you anything? Tea? Coffee? A glass of water perhaps?’
Jami nodded and asked for water.
As her eyes closed, her mind drifted back to her childhood.
‘What can I get you today?’ the friendly shop keeper had asked her.
She offered her penny and asked what her choices were.
‘You can have a gobstopper, four blackjacks or four fruit salad chews, two aniseed balls, or a liquorice wheel, watch or pipe. But there’s quite a selection on the shelves in front of you. I’ll let you decide.’
Jami looked at all the treats available and settled on two blackjacks and two fruit salad chews so that she could share them with her younger brother.
Every Saturday when she got her pocket money, she would go down to the sweet shop to spend it. The shop keeper was nice, always making her laugh and telling her when there was something new to be tried.
‘What can I get you today?’ he said with a smile and Jami pointed to something in the cabinet, asking how much it was.
‘Oh, that’s tuppence, but I’ll tell you what, you come and keep me company for a little while and I’ll let you have two, one each for you and your brother, how’s that?’
Jami was thrilled. Her Daddy had always told her she was good company, so she thought nothing of it when he put the closed sign up and locked the door.
Tears were streaming down her face when the medical team arrived to assess her.
They were professional and asked her questions as they took her temperature, blood pressure and pulse.
It all came out in a rush then, things she had bottled up for years, all thrown into disarray by a polite enquiry.
‘You poor lamb. How old were you?’
‘Seven.’ Jami whispered, and burst into tears again.