“Ma’am, may I help you? Is there something you are looking for?” Marjorie looked at the young woman wearing the pink apron of Von’s Sweet Shop standing in front of her. “Ma’am?”
Beyond the girl’s sweet blue eyes, Marjorie saw the shop’s candy cane trademark and the candy-filled jars, but she couldn’t put names to any of it. She struggled to think in English.
“Ah. Yes, yes,” Marjorie said, the words finally coming forth. “I’m looking for the tins of the little white mints, I can’t remember their names…” They were the mints from her childhood and since she returned to London they were some kind of balm to her spirits.
“They were right here. These are what you are looking for, right? Woodbridge’ Delectable Mints.” Woodbridge, such a calm sound.
“Oh, yes. Ten tins today.” Marjorie could see the girl was surprised at the number. “Do you like these? You’ve tried them, of course?”
“No, actually, I haven’t, ma’am. You know there are so many sweets here and we’re only allowed so much each month. We have days when we have to taste new things, but otherwise we’ve got an allowance. I always take the chocolate wavers.” The girl pointed to mint green boxes stacked near the cash register.
Of course, thought Marjorie, this girl grew up with chocolates mints, not the plain white mint lozenges of Marjorie’s youth. Charlotte wouldn’t know the Woodbridges either.
Marjorie paid for her package and stepped outside. On the street the feeling of falling started again. She leaned against the shop’s window to steady herself, her back reflected in the window of red Valentine’s Day sweets. If people would just top speaking English, for just one minute. She knew she was being irrational. But the sounds, she couldn’t get used to it. Her doctor said it was just an adjustment, maybe it would take a year, but she couldn’t bear this upside down feeling for a year.