She and I spot it at the same time. The treasured item sits on a table, ignored but for the two of us. I want it, and so does she. I see the glimmer in her eyes, the quickening of her step as she moves towards it. “Not this time!” I think to myself, as I speed up, pumping my legs faster. Who will win in this battle of wills? In this valiant life and death fight for…….. the daisy teacup?
“Loretta” (as I’ve dubbed her) is my arch nemesis. I don’t know her real name, but I curse her existence. With her steely gray hair and even steelier gaze, she’s a formidable opponent. She’s a regular shopper at my favorite thrift store and shows up at every garage sale I drag my family to. She can haggle with the best of them, cutting people down to size with her whip-sharp mind and smooth tongue. I once saw her haggle with a priest, almost reducing him to tears (which I’m sure is a mortal sin). I would’ve been scared if I wasn’t so impressed. I’ve watched her leave the second-hand store with her arms full of treasures; ludicrous items that I covet desperately. There, see? She’s taken the ceramic duck that I was sort of thinking of possibly maybe buying next time. I’m tellin’ ya, she’s doing it on purpose!
In all honesty, I’d love to follow in Loretta’s footsteps and be a lady of leisure. Wouldn’t it be great to swan around from store to store, buying frivolous and unnecessary things? My husband, Jeremy, always teases me for my interest in ‘old lady nonsense’, as he calls it. He rolls his eyes at my collection of silver spoons, and my fusty artificial flowers make him wince. But don’t they look charming on the windowsill? Kinda like we’re in a thatched-roof cottage in England, instead of a Lego-filled living room. I can picture it clearly if I ignore the dirty socks stuffed under the couch.
With limited shopping options in our small town, I imagine I’ll keep bumping into Loretta. She snatched that daisy teacup from under me, bargained the price down to fifty cents, and got a lampshade thrown in for free. One of these days, we’re gonna have a good ol’ fashioned standoff over a half broken soap dish, and it ain’t gonna end pretty. I’m as stubborn as a mule and I bet she is, too. If it comes to blows, I’ve got youth, but she’s got stamina. Let’s face it: Loretta’s one tough son-of-a-gun, and my money’s on her.