“She’s come all the way from the UK and all she wants to do is go to Walmart!” my Louisianan mother-in-law is telling her husband about my holiday plans, with the half-amused, half-baffled tone of someone who’s just been introduced to an innocuous cousin of ET.
I am visiting my (now ex) boyfriend’s hometown near Dallas, Texas, in the USA for the first time, and the two of us are heading out for a third trip (that week) to the town’s equivalent of big Tesco. My ex laughs when I ask if we should walk the half-mile journey, as it’s so close by.
When we get there I wander through the cereal aisle like a 10-year-old, dazzled by primary colours and the promise of more sugar in a single bowl of ‘Donut O’s’ than my mum would let me have in an entire weekend as a child. I spend at least 20 minutes opening and slamming freezer doors in a way that my post-pandemic brain would baulk at, marvelling at ice cream birthday cakes and mac-and-cheese-filled Cheetos and frozen egg and bacon waffle sandwiches.