Doris sat on the wooden bench, shifted uncomfortably and tucked her shopping bags under her armpit. There was a young man approaching. He was wearing a hooded zipped sweater, baggy jeans and a woollen hat. She didn’t want to stare, to attract attention so she turned her left palm upwards and appeared as if she was examining her nails. Actually, she didn’t really have any nails because they had been worn away scrubbing the kitchen floor. She considered whether she’d want the young man to know that she had no nails; that should he attack her, she couldn’t scratch him. Then she realised how futile this thought was, that an individual capable of inflicting bodily harm on a mature lady such as herself would consider naillessness a barrier to attack. He may even consider that a lady with perfectly manicured talons to be the wearer of expensive rings or worse still, the owner of a whole stash of co-ordinating sets of jewelery to which he would march her, her arm behind her back or a knife in her ribs whilst he muttered obscenities through a stocking. And no one would know because the lady, a frequenter of the bridge club and music circle and who played golf on Wednesdays wouldn’t have told anyone that she was going to sit on a park bench. She would’ve told people that she was visiting her friend Valerie in hospital and they would have said “But Vanessa dear, you’ve never mentioned that you knew Valerie” and she’d blush and have to pretend that it was another Valerie altogether and hope that they didn’t see through her.
But now Doris could see that none of this could happen. Why not? Because she’d put on her glasses and realised that the young man was her grandson.