I shift uncomfortably in my seat, the fake leather juddering and squeaking beneath my legs, the waistband of jeans I’d bought from a generic chain catering to people my age two days ago are inching down my hips again. How do people get comfortable with this?
Yes, I know I’m spoilt, a world of privilege and tailored clothes made my expedition into one of those big shops that sell everything from underwear to lawnmowers an adventure every bit as exotic as the ones people write about where they go backpacking through some completely foreign country. It’s funny how cultures and norms can exist near-on side-by-side and never realise they’re different.
Of course I’m in a completely foreign country as well, one where it’s apparently normal for boys my age to gather in cafes and leer at a girl sitting on her own. Although maybe that’s normal in my part of the world too. I wouldn’t know, I’m so rarely on my own, and never in public.
Mind, I’m also never in a funny little café in a small country town on the edge of a very large country. I wonder whether my security guard has realised he’s shadowing a decoy yet. He’s not terribly good at his job and I wonder how he got past my usual head of security.
All to my advantage though, I just dropped the lipstick he’d bugged into a woman’s open shopping bag when I bumped into her at the station and merged into the crowd after a wide-eyed apology. The people here are so nice to confused strangers. I should know, I’ve been one of the most confused many of them have ever encountered in the past few days.
I wonder what Jean-Claude was up to. Probably creating a headache for his own security detail. He disappears on them all the time, this is my first and I would never have given the oversized, over-familiar lunk the slip if he hadn’t started getting a little more familiar than was either professional or comfortable. It’s a sad day when I need to be protected from my own security guard.