Picking up the phone, she hit speed dial and a sleepy voice said, “Hello?
“Hey, sleepy-head, how are you?”
“Oh man, I got off work at the Hotel at about two am this morning….ugh….”
“I hate to askbut I could really use your help today, even if it’s for a little while….” Cassandra said, a hopeful note in her voice.
“Yeah, sure, can we make it 10:00 though? Bye the time I wake up, shower and get a coffee, I’ll be alert enough to be of some assistance, I think.”
“Wonderful, Shawna, thank you. That was what I was counting on. See you then.”
Cassandra wandered downstairs to the fridge and took out her drops and after using them, created a graph to record the times and drops she’d used. She wasn’t about to risk healing her eyes to chance. The store was a busy place and she didn’t want to risk becoming distracted or forgetting altogether. Feeling a boost in confidence, she stuffed the paper into her pocke.
“Cassandra, you ‘bout ready? I made your favourite . . . coffee . . .” mirthful laughter sounded from below.
“I’ll be right down!” Cassandra promised knowing full well Maggy was the coffee guru and smiled delightedly.
While choosing a co-ordinating outfit it dawned on Cassy that she couldn’t see colour not even shades a daunting realization.
“How’d you sleep?”
“Not bad considering, how about you?”
“Like a dream.”
“And what a dream…hmhm.”
“Dare I ask?” Cassandra quipped.
“Sure, but this one is too good to share….sorry,” Maggy winked.
“Ook then!” Cassandra chuckled.
“Could you drop me off at work today? I can grab a cab home after….”
“Sure, and no, you will not grab a cab, I’ll be a few minutes late, but I’ll be there.”
They sat down to a quick breakfast of fruit yogurt and sprinkling of granola and almonds sipping coffee both studiously dismissing the concern at hand.
After refilling Porsche’s dish and replenishing his water she collected her drops and placed them in a baggy with ice. Snagging her purse and briefcase along with a bagged lunch, Maggy placed the few dishes they’d used in the dishwasher and they left.
Maggy started rolling forward, waving then waited until Cassy was safely inside. Normally Maggy would have turned right, but a sudden movement on the library steps caught her attention. Noting the man staring intently at Cassy’s store with an inordinate interest she turned left instead making a quick and unexpected u-turn to drive slowly past him.
He ducked his head into a package and she couldn’t see his face. Because she’d already made her interest obvious, she used the rear view mirror instead. The backward facing baseball cap, effectively covered his hair and he was decked out in unusually warm clothes for the weather which caught her attention. If asked she couldn’t explain why she found him unsettling or why she was toubled by his presence. She wasn’t usually antsy nor edgy.
It was a small town, someone new immediately stood out whether it was their car or person and it was a tourist town. Having said that, she still couldn’t let it go and decided to call Cassy later to find out whether she’d noticed him lurking around the viscinity of her store.
Cassandra waved turned and awkwardly made her way down the row of clothes racks into bathroom where she flipped on the interior lights awaiting Shawna’s arrival.
First things first meant getting the till ready. She hoped it had balanced on Saturday when Shawna was because with her vision as is, she couldn’t do anything about it. Damn!
It was frustrating as hell – peering at her store, unable to see the lilac and lime green borders or matching the pegboards or the items that hung on them. Her imagination filled in the wire spools sanded and painted both colours. She was hardpressed to see the picket fencing standing against windiws with baby clothes draped on hangers. Although she cold see the outfits that hung over the doweling between the windows, she couldn’t have said what colour or size they were. Her memory filled in the rest.
Black and silver hanging units slotted into the pegboard on the walls, and sectioned off into age groups. Metal racks stood evenly spaced for effortless maneuvering so little fingers couldn’t access the clothing or pull them down.
The back of the store was divided into two equal parts. The left corner, a play area for toddlers and youngsters housing a pretty little play house, gymn and reading nook with plenty of books and toys for all ages. The play area was a stroke of genius in reality as parents could monitor their children, but were free to shop, undisturbed.
Book shelves acted as dividers between the play and eating areas which was spacious enough to house the spools acting as table along with washable plastic chairs. The two smaller spools for tots were covered with blackboard paint and a ready supply of chalk stood in a cubby she’d stapled to the side of the table.
The opposite side of the ell contained her cash register and supplies for tagging and marking along with specially designed bags for advertising purposes. Her desk, computer, filing cabinets catalogues and paperwork stood behind the other shelving, well hidden from view of customers.
The existing bathroom had been re-plumbed and other than a fresh paint job, the only other addition she added was a six foot silver framed mirror and hooks on one side for customers use while trying on the clothes.
Part of the joy of owning the shop was creating eye-catching displays, re-working the existing, and especially the regular customers who had come to rely on her expertise.
As an agent for several big name brands, she ordered dresses and outfits for a recent addition for teens and grads but quickly becoming popular for weddings as well. Gorgeous gowns and even little tuxes for babies hung side by side now greatly in demand.
She sighed deeply. She’d worked so desperately hard for this and for the first time since she’d opened shop, felt nervous. If these eye sight issue persisted would she be able to continue, and if not, what then?
Shawna arrived a half hour later and one look at Cassandra had her asking, “What the hell happened to you?”
“Not really sure…listen, I may have to take some time off if this doesn’t get better soon, are you up for some full time work? I know we talked about July and August, but I may need you sooner….”
“Yeah, sure….I’m only working a couple of graveyard shifts at the Hotel, I can handle it.”
“So what’s going on?”