This is the fifth part of a fiction serial, in 736 words.
Once she no longer had a job, and could do anything she liked with her time, Gillian started to think about what was going to happen to her. She missed her mum being around, as she had been ideal company, and liked all the same things. But she had never been an over-emotional person, or demonstrably affectionate, which had left Gillian thinking that was the way to act.
Mum’s ashes had come, delivered in a plastic urn inside a thick cardboard box. Gillian had put that in mum’s bedroom, so she would feel at home.They had never been religious, but mum had often said things like “I will be watching over you’, so being in the house was the best place for her. Not that she had any idea where they could have been scattered.
There was plenty of money to spend, and she decided to spend some of it. Her trip to the bank had been brief, but worthwhile. She had set up direct debits to cover every monthly bill, and transferred a lot of money into her savings account, leaving plenty available in the current account. The man had also showed her about phone banking, and how she could just ring up to make payments and do transfers.
Not that she was reckless with money. She still had clothes that were ten years old, and spent next to nothing on make-up, jewellery, or lingerie, like some women did. The thing she craved was a big computer. The laptop still worked well, but she wanted something bang up to date, with a big screen and a proper keyboard.
On the bus to the retail park, Gillian felt uncomfortable. People were looking at her funny, she was sure of that. And two women behind kept whispering, almost definitely about her. In PC World, she bought the best and most expensive computer they had, with the largest monitor they had in stock. Then she paid extra to have it delivered within two working days. Her trousers were feeling tight after spending so long in pyjamas and jogging bottoms, so on the bus back she popped the top button above the zip to release the pressure.
When she got off at her stop, she made sure not to glance at the driver. He had given her a strange look when she got on.
In the corner shop, she stocked up with enough groceries to last the week. She had seen on TV about online shopping with Tesco, and intended to sign up for that as soon as possible. One less reason to have to go out, and much cheaper than buying everything from the Londis shop.
The men delivered her computer on the Friday morning. She shouted through the letterbox. “Leave it there please. I will be able to bring it in” One of them shouted back. “Sorry, love. You have to sign for it!” Before she opened the door, Gillian put the chain on it. The man passed the form on a clipboard through the gap with a pen, and she signed it and poked it back through. As they walked away, one muttered something to the other one, and they both laughed.
She waited until the big van drove away before opening the door to get the two big parcels.
Set up on the dining table, the new PC looked wonderful. She had it connected to the Internet with a cable, so it was much faster than the laptop too. She was so busy scrolling websites, she forgot to have lunch, and by the time her stomach was grumbling to tell her to eat something for dinner, she had an online account with Tesco, and with Amazon too. Now she could get her groceries delivered, and buy any CD or DVD she wanted.
When she had finished her pie, chips, and beans and done the washing up, she settled down to watch one of the soap operas that came on early. But after a few minutes, she got bored, and went back to the computer. Long before she was tired enough to go to bed, she had signed up for a Sky satellite system to be installed, and ordered one of those flat-screen plasma televisions she had seen for sale in the shops.
And she had ticked the box to pay extra for installation and setup too, even though that meant some man coming in.