Written as Helena, volunteer. (We are asked to write as someone else, real or fictional. )
I was standing by the counter, sorting some bits and pieces. Stan was sitting behind it, ready to take people's money. But there were only the two of us in there. It was nearly 4 o'clock.
This woman came in. She had white hair and a bright pink T-shirt, and she was wearing lots of rings and pendants.
She picked up one of the long rolls of shiny paper in the big basket next to the counter.
'A moon calendar,' I said.
'Of course,' she replied, with a grin. '$7.50. It's been the same price for years.'
'I didn't know that,' I said. 'We just volunteer here sometimes.'
And that was the start of it. Somehow I found myself telling her all about us and our interests and worries. She really listened.
I found out she had a bit of a walk back to her car. I wrapped her calendar in two plastic bags (recycled) with a rubber band around them, in case it rained.
I told her we were moving house, and what a job it was to pack all our books. She told us she couldn't help herself when it came to buying books, despite having embraced e-books, because the second-hand shops kept offering treasures for next to nothing. Her home was overflowing with books, she said.
She showed me the one she was carrying.
'I wasn't going to get anything today, but I was passing the Salvos and there was this gem for a dollar. What can you do?'
'We've got some second-hand books here for a dollar each,' I said. She hesitated, then went to have a look. She picked one up, flicked through the pages, and tucked it under her arm. 'Damn!' she said to herself.
She picked up another, turned it over, opened it and read a bit, and hung on to that one too. 'Damn!' she said softly again. Then she came over to the counter and bought them both.
I found another plastic bag for them and the one she already had.
When she left, she was smiling.