Panic Lying

Rhiannon Soliman-Marron

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Walking out of Woolworths, I check the list one last time.

Bread. 

Eggs.

Tissues. 

Organic toothpaste.

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Shit! I forgot the almond milk. I debate going back in, but I’ve already crossed the road, and I don’t want to spend another twenty minutes waiting for the ‘automated’ crossing to go green.

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My mother looks at the list. She looks in the bags. And then: the dreaded question. 

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“Where’s the —”

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I’m frozen to the spot. What to say? Forgetting to bring home almond milk is an unforgivable sin in this household.

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And then, a brainwave.

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I cut her off. I am apologetic, yet determined to demonstrate that I did everything I could to bring her almond milk in the face of adversity. 

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“I’m so sorry. There were none left.” 

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She looks at me, mouth agape in horror. Time to bring out the big guns: “I even checked ALDI!”

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She gives a defeated nod. Fair enough. It’s a crazy world we live in. Uncertain times.

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And so it begins. On Monday, I forget to pick up some shredded cheese after work. When I arrive home empty-handed, I announce it had all been bought by the nation’s teenagers, who are using it for the ‘shredded cheese challenge’ on TikTok.

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Did it slip my mind to grab frozen spinach? No worries, Donald Trump let slip in his latest press conference that leafy greens are a sure-fire cure for coronavirus, and the public’s gone mad. You know how it is. 

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Sorry Gran, I really wanted to buy those Whiskas sachets for the cat, but they’re just flying off the shelves after Woolies announced they were handing out a free kitten with every bottle of hand sanitiser purchased.

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And I know I was supposed to pick up exercise books for my brother, but, you know, with all the toilet paper gone…I’m sure you can add the two together.

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With empty shelves lining our TV screens night after night, it’s not hard to start turning a lapse of memory into the latest panic-buying craze.

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I just hope scientists don’t discover a vaccine before I discover the reminders app on my phone.