Polling Day (bp coyle)

The lady behind the counter had bagged the last of the shopping, for a second I thought we might make it out without an embarrassing scene.

‘Have a nice day,’ she said and turned to deal with someone else.

‘Oh we will,’ my mother assured her. ‘We’re on our way to the polling station. Have you voted yet?’

Every single election, every single referendum, this happened.

‘No,’ the lady answered, as they usually do. ‘What’s the point? One vote isn’t going to make any difference.’

I had heard this conversation too many times before. I took out my book, leaned against the wall and prepared for a long stay.

‘Do you know how lucky you are to have a vote at all?’ my mother began. ‘Women died just so you could vote, women went to prison.’

The lady had turned bright red. ‘I don’t really take much interest in politics,’ she tried.

‘It doesn’t matter who you vote for,’ my mother declared. ‘I would never try to tell anyone what way to go. But it’s your duty to vote.’

‘Maybe I’ll go later,’ the lady tamely offered.

With a tut of disgust from my mother, we finally left.

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