The key is to go to a few different stores. I used to always go to Jerry’s Liquors on Bonifant Avenue. I was a regular. Too regular. Jerry’s mouth started to form a thin line when I’d come in. I could see the conflict on his face. He was glad for the business, but judgmental about the frequency of my visits.
Don’t make this hard on me, his face seemed to say. Don’t make me feel bad for you.
Jerry, like so many others, didn’t want to be bothered with sympathy.
Now, I don’t go to Jerry’s anymore. I have five other stores I frequent, all within a fifteen-mile radius of my house. They all think I’m a regular. A devoted and loyal customer.
They’re all right.
Typically, I stop by each one once a week. One store per day, Monday through Friday. I like to go in the early afternoon. Always after three, but usually before four.
My favorite store is Pine View Liquors on Main Street. My Friday store. It’s a little bit bougie, amid the boutiques selling clothing of the type I used to wear in my former life, and restaurants serving tapas and crepes, and houseware shops displaying accent chairs to be admired but not sat upon, and teakettles to be visible in the background of Instagram posts but never used, and candles to be sniffed but not lit on fire.
In addition to beer and wine and liquor, Pine View sells bags of kettle chips that shimmer with oil, colorful artisanal sodas, and specialty chocolates stuffed with PB&J, salted caramel, and cookie butter. I always load a few such items into my basket to distract the cashier from the fact that I’m a five-foot-four woman purchasing seven hundred and fifty milliliters of Grey Goose vodka, just as I do nearly every Friday.
It was in Pine View Liquors that I first saw her.
It was like looking at myself, nine months ago.
When I read a Kirkus Starred Review that compared The Favour by Nora Murphy to Strangers on a Train, the Patricia Highsmith novel, which later became a thrilling cinematic ride by Alfred Hitchcock, I had to look at it a bit closer. With voyeurism similar to Rachel's in The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (and if you haven't read that book YOU SHOULD!), Leah Dawson watches McKenna Hawkins... their two worlds will eventually collide. The Favour will be released May 31, 2022 by Minotaur Publishing... and it's on my wishlist.