They had walked a block away from the school, had come into the small commercial district that had grown and contracted over the decades in direct proportion to the size changes of the Bark Bay High School student population.
“Want a drink?” Rune pointed with his free right hand at a door to a convenience store. Annie nodded, released her hold of his left arm.
Rune routinely stopped at the store on his afternoon walks home. Snacks, drinks. Warm-up or dry-off break during bad weather. Comic books (never as good a selection as what he and Butch found during their visits to Page Turners, but there were the occasional finds), sometimes magazines, and, on those afternoons where he was the only customer in the store, a furtive peek at the pornography at the back of the rack.
He and Annie got drinks from coolers, brought them to the register. “Hello Annie.” Rune looked up suddenly, amazed.
“Hey Ronna.” Rune looked at the slightly overweight woman behind the register, as if to make sure that this was indeed the same person who had been behind that register most of the time he had been there for he didn’t know how long (months, at least a year certainly). Yes, it was her. She had a name tag, RONNA. Rune had never noticed before.
“How’s Gandy?” Ronna scooped the change that Rune and Annie had placed on the counter into her hand.
“She’s fine.” Annie took her bottle of diet iced tea from the counter. “I’m teaching there, on Wednesdays.”
“Toddlers?” Ronna suddenly spoke with more animation than Rune had ever heard from her before. Annie nodded. “Well, my daughter’s turning five next year, maybe we’ll see you there!”
“Great!” Annie seemed genuinely pleased as she left the store with Rune.