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Image by Fikri Rasyid

Reaching for Vegemite

(c) Linda Hutchison November 2018

He smiled. It was one of those heart-meltingly adorable smiles that only a toddler could deliver, forcing me to forgive him instantly for the predicament we were in. I grabbed him with my free arm and held him tightly.

“The ambulance is on its way,” reassured the store attendant, gently touching me on the shoulder.

I shifted uncomfortably in my position on the floor. Supermarket lino wasn’t really designed for relaxation. Another attendant appeared with two throws from the linen aisle and several towels.

“These should keep you warm.” She pulled the throws from their packaging and draped them over us. I’d unfortunately met my accident a bit too close to the freezer section, and the chilled air seemed several degrees cooler down here near the bottom shelves. Hesitating, the attendant moved to mop up the mess with the towels.

“So sorry to put you to all this trouble.” My apology was met with an awkward grin.

“Don’t worry. The same thing happened to my Mum – but she was in Toiletries.”

It was reassuring to know that other people had survived this and could still show their faces in public. I could feel my face glowing red and gave my son a stare.

“We didn’t need more Vegemite, you know.”

“Vegemite puts roses in you.” He gave me a serious smile. “You love roses, Mummy.”

I laughed out loud again, half at his expression, and half at the idea of being filled with roses. Right now, roses seemed pretty irrelevant. I flinched as the pain gripped. Trying to distract myself, I glanced around. It was an unusual perspective on a store that I thought I’d known well. Lying on my side to minimise the nausea, I could see a stray box of Smarties in the dust and, further out, what looked like a set of coat hangers. I adjusted my handbag that was serving as a pillow and thought about sitting up. Another wave of pain decided me against it.

“Well, darling, that’s one way to get me out of work.” A warmly familiar voice provided instant relief and I smiled ironically up at my husband.

“Lucky you were close. I need the company.”

“Daddy!” Our son leapt into his father’s arms.

“So what happened.” I didn’t have to revisit the rough night we’d had with our ‘Little Mr Sunshine’ and his teeth, but I did have to explain how I’d ended up prone on the supermarket floor, bookended by ‘Caution – Wet Floor’ signs. I felt a bit like a Christmas bonbon, rounded as I was.

“He made me laugh.”

Hubby nuzzled our son and smiled at him. “You made Mummy laugh, did you? Didn’t you know that was dangerous in her condition?”

Our young man looked puzzled and concerned, but was distracted by the ambulance staff bustling in.

“Mrs Hunter? How are you feeling?” A young paramedic knelt next to me.

“Somewhat embarrassed, but glad you’re here.” I started to relax.

“So your waters broke?”


Reaching for Vegemite: Work
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