Flirting in the time of COVID by Leo Lazarus

It’s hard to flirt in supermarket aisles in times such as these. I saw her by the jam jars, again in proximity of the herbal tea, doing loops of nameless aisles, but it was her who said, ‘I’m not following you, I swear’, as I stared at rows of olive oil glistening in their glass. She’s pretty, dressed in black, a warm woollen knit, a light sense of calm about her.

‘I just go round in circles in here’, I say, sometimes more than others, an unspoken thought, better than, ‘I wouldn’t mind if you were’, no, no, that’s terrible.

Be decisive; I grab the good quality oil on special, raid the fruit and vegetable section, tell myself I’ll say hello if we meet again. I stare at packets of pasta. There she is.

‘Have you got any spaghetti recommendations?’ Really? That’s all you’ve got?

‘Gluten-free or normal?’

‘Either one.’

‘Try the Molisana, it’s good.’

‘Great, I tried the wholemeal and it wasn’t very…’ I search for the word, ‘springy.’

Mutual agreement.

I smile at her, but I can’t see if she smiles back, and she can’t smile back because she can’t see my smile anyway, and vice versa.

There she is, at the self-service. I’m going through the registers. My bag tumbles off the poxy ledge, my mask keeps threatening to slide off my nose, I feel hot and stuffy all of a sudden; then she walks past, with no acknowledgement.

I lug my bags and sack of oranges up the hill to home. The spaghetti is excellent.

About the contributor

Leo Lazarus is a writer, poet and traveller from Melbourne, Australia. His first book, Myanmar in Moments, was published in 2020 by Ginninderra Press.

Related Articles

Photo-poems: visual art and poetry combinations for a high-tech age by Sarah Leavesley

Although my working and creative life has mostly been as a writer, I’ve always loved photography. As a poet, the initial appeal for me in...

Edvard Munch: love and angst

Edvard Munch: love and angst ‘No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and...

Shoulder To Shoulder by Ada Wofford

Ada Wofford discusses DeLillo's 'Pafko at the Wall' and the abiding romance of sports culture

More Like This

Getting Above My Raisin’ by Ann S. Epstein

Ann S. Epstein explores the self-doubt that ensnares us as we search for a publisher.

Giving words to sorrow

In 2010 I completed a PhD in Creative Writing on the topic of grieving the death of a young adult child. The exegetical part of my...

‘Cool Glass of Water’ by Kim Ports Parsons

In this moving tribute, Kim Ports Parsons recalls precious times spent with her mother and the joy of the words they shared

Fusing Music and Writing

I’m not writing, though about the intricacies, or near absence, of racial minorities in country music

Becoming a wing-thru: Part 6 – Finding Self and Avoiding Wastage

The penultimate part of Sarah Leavesley's 7 part essay, Becoming a wing-thru.