Anger Hastens Ageing

Short, short story
Short, short story

NOT TO BE late for her appointments, social or medical or official, was in her nature. This spring morning, which was neither drizzly nor sunny, she arrived seven minutes earlier for the appointment for face analysis at the beauty shop.


Yves Rocher is one of the oldest non-Nordic beauty shops located in the centre of the city. It was surviving despite many shops were disappearing with e-commerce and covid-dictated reasons. It has been selling plant-based beauty products since cosmetics have been become as essential as groceries for women, then for men, and then for non-binary and LGBTQ.  Many shops and other businesses were busting and boarding up or relocating. This beauty shop, however, was still doing its business in the ongoing coronavirus times, which was into its second successive year, by following the coronavirus protocols as issued by the government on a regular basis.

Victoria Svenssonsdotter stood in front of the shop and saw herself in the mirrored wall of the shop. She was pleased with her figure in the mirror, and he-face was shaping up similar to a young woman’s face except for few invisibly visible spots. She wished the cosmetician would give her a promising analysis of her face and not making her buy as many plant-based cosmetics that would cost as much as her monthly expenditure for food and beverages.  She had less than six minutes to get in; she looked around. On her left there was a four-dimensional billboard; on this, there was the poster of Sarah Klang, who looked like Adele’s older sister when Adele was younger. She started walking towards Sarah Klang to diagnose her.

The poster was announcing the release of Sarah Klang’s new album titled VIRGO. The singer’s upper body was all a golden hue but the lower body gave the appearance of a mermaid. Victoria admired her audacity to grow naturally as nature dictated her body. She scanned the QR code on the poster. She had listened to her songs: Love In The Milky Way, Endless Sadness, Love So Cruel, It’s Been Heaven Knowing You, Left Me On Fire. The singer was not her favourite singer but she wanted to encourage the regional artists, albeit, she wished she would sing more songs in Swedish. She dropped her mobile phone in her handbag after checking the time: four more minutes left for the appointment.

A young, father who was unhappily pushing the two-seater pram with a baby, ducked away from her as she traipsed from the billboard. No wonder those Americans snigger at these daddies as gay daddies, she thought. But they don’t know that paternal duties are swapped for maternal duties, and vice versa, in Nordic countries. A cyclist stared at her though she was not on his way and this street was not earmarked for cyclists. She froze in the middle of the street. She heard the squeaks of sparrows in the courtyard of the church which was in front of Yves Rocher. She started walking towards the church. She had been at the Domkyrkan the Cathedral of Gothenburg as a choir boy.

The spring was abloom. There was a spring in her steps to see Him. She breezily walked to get inside the church through one of the gates on this side of the street. As she stepped into the courtyard of the church, her mobile phone rang. It was a call from Siddhartha Kumar, whom she did not expect to call but he called her at the most unexpected time of the day and on the most unexpected day of the week. She ignored his call for the wish to see God was on her mind now.

Domkryka has the tallest and thickest door for any structure built in the city. But today, which is usually opened at this time of the day, it was closed. Victoria Svenssonsdotter lost her calm demeanour. The masculine outburst burst out of her: she kicked the door with her right leg, three times. One kick for making her go through all the hassle to transform into a girl from a boy. Second, one for closing the door to her, and others, when it was supposed to be opened at least with covid-related restrictions. And the third kick for watching His children in the world battling within the walls against the unending coronavirus disease.

With a puckered face, Victoria turned her back to the door to walk in the direction of Yves Rocher. She was startled to find an old man with a stick, smiling. ‘Don’t be angry,’ he said softly. ‘Anger hastens ageing.’

Victoria was pleased he saw the anger in her face.

‘You look like my faraway living daughter.’

That was a good sign, she thought.

A flock of sparrows descended on the ground, tittering.

‘Spring in the air.’

by Kovuuri G. Reddy