The tall dark figure stood behind the small pink one, at the open door of the coffee shop. They looked out at the wet pavement, the December squall pushing the rain horizontally into their faces.
“We’re going to go left. Which way is left?”
“This one.” A hand waved in the air and was quickly shoved into a pocket.
“No… Try again.”The man shared the same dark brows as the pink figure which leant backwards against his legs, sheltering from the chill wind which arrived in their High Street from snow-blocked continental Europe.
“Grandpa, can we go. Please.” She stamped her feet. “It’s freezing here.”
“Where to next?”
“To get Mog.”
“Show me the way then.”
“The library’s over there.” She waved her left hand vaguely in a left direction. Her hands were cosy inside hand-knitted mittens, each with a crocheted-flower sewn on it. She was so proud of her new mittens. She had chosen the colours and her grandmother had done the special crocheting with a huge grey needle.
The pair clasped hands, his left in her right, and disappeared into the cold rain.
In the coffee shop, Mary watched them go. She sat at the table beside the window, a large cup of cold milky coffee in front of her, and looked at her hands. She would like a hand-knitted mitten for the hand she used for her cup, her fingers were cold all the time, a mitten with a pink crocheted-flower. And a mitten for her other hand too, perhaps a mitten with holes for her fingers. Her knuckles were tattooed with smudged ink. There was one pattern, and then another. With her finger she followed the shape slowly, it was a line the colour of the dark sky outside.
‘L’ on the not-cup hand.
‘R’ on the cup hand.
Then with a flash she remembered. ‘L’ meant Lynn. “Lynn is my daughter,” she said to the girl with the apron who wiped the next table with a dirty cloth. Mary wanted to rinse the cloth out in hot soapy water and wring it until not a drop fell out. The girl nodded without smiling.
If ‘L’ was Lynn, then ‘R’ was Richard. But Mary didn’t know anyone called Richard.
A moment later she studied her knuckles again. She tried to rub off the dirt but it wouldn’t budge, so she sipped her cold milky coffee and thought about mittens.
© Sandra Danby
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Mary would like pink mittens: LEFT OR RIGHT #flashfiction via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1eG