Read a story!

When I saw her for the first time, she looked like a typical teenager. Long, brown hair and brown eyes. Slightly plump, with signs of early acne on her face. Probably thinking about diets and loosing weight, brand-new boyfriends and soaps on TV. What real problems can such a girl have? – I thought. I”ve seen lots of girls with problems. Girls of her age fighting with domestic violence, depressed, prone to opt for gangs and sects. I have learned to recognize them instantly, like with a zoom, even from a crowd of happy teenagers. They looked different. Perhaps she knocked the wrong door. “Excuse me” – she said. “I… I’m looking for Dr Martin… the psychologist.” “It’s me” – I replied. “How can I help you?” “Can I tell you my story?” – she asked and sat down before I even managed to reply.

“When I was a child” – she started – “my favourite place was a big department store where we went once a year only to buy Christmas gifts. We bought brown teddy bears and pink elephants, glossy candies wrapped in foil, books with pictures and cars with little engines. A paradise for a young girl. I thought when I was bigger, I would go there everyday! I was bigger and we moved to a big city, with shops everywhere. When I was already a teenager and started to get my first pocket money, I spent all my spare time shopping. First, I simply bought things I liked. The more I bought, the happier I became. I loved sales and offers, I could look for clothes for hours. Then I started cheating. I took money from my parents for private French lessons: finally I had time and a few pounds to spend every Wednesday. I didn”t have lunches in the school canteen: I prefered to buy a sandwich, walk in the street and look at shop windows. But the worst was yet to come. I started to steal money from my parents. They are well – off and simply didn’t notice. Then I started to play truant and spend whole mornings in a shopping center. Finally, because I didn’t know what to do with the things I bought, I started to give them back. I bought a pair of jeans or a new CD, and then I returned them and took the money back. Now I was happy, as I found the way to make this hobby cheap. It got more expensive when I finally had to travel to distant towns because the shop-assistants from the shops nearby recognized me. I started to feel like an animal which is being chased. The day without shopping was lost. I felt extremely unhappy. Bank holidays were a nightmare.”

“Who helped you?” – I asked. I was really impressed. I new similar stories: connected with drugs or alcohol. I knew shopping is addictive. Who helped the girl? She didn”t look like a girl with problems any more.

“Not who, but what” – she protested, and her eyes shone. “Last week I had my first dream. I was in a big toy shop. You know, I’ve always loved teddy bears – since I was a child. There were lots of teddy bears in the shop, of different sizes and colours. I could choose whatever I wanted and there were absolutely no limits. I chose a beautiful, big, violet bear and then I woke up. You could think I was unhappy when I knew it was a dream only, but I wasn’t – just the opposite. I still felt this pleasure. Do you understand?” I did. She smiled and continued. “Next day I had a dream about a pet shop where I bought a rabbit I had always wanted. Then about a shoe shop where I bought beautiful slippers decorated with precious stones. In the bookshop I bought my favourite series and albums with fashion and art, in the furniture shop I bought a new pink fur sofa and a matching little carpet, then at the florist’s some beautiful little roses in a pot. And then, yesterday, I dreamt about a jeweller’s and a diamond ring. I’m looking forward to tonight’s dream. Now, my mother sent me here because she thinks I’m taking drugs or something. So, please, if you could, tell her I don’t.”
The girl left quickly and I must have talked to her mother – but I hardly remember that – I was still impressed by the girl’s story.

Three weeks later…
Three weeks passed by and she was there again. Unwashed hair, shabby clothes. I hardly recognized her. She didn’t even look at me, her eyes were down. “I don’t have them any more” – she said. “I don’t have the dreams. First they got… weaker. I dreamt about a supermarket and shopping for mineral water, chips, bread and sausages. I woke up bored and tired. Then it got even worse. Pharmacy with aspirin, the greengrocer’s with cauliflower and potatoes, the baker’s with bread, the newsagent’s where I could buy only one newspaper, the market with eggs and whole chickens. Then the off-licence where they didn’t want to sell me any alcohol as I am under age! The worst was the butcher”s – all this kinds of meat and I”m a vegetarian! And the voice appeared saying: “Dear Lizzie, take this beautiful piece, I know you want to eat it raw!” It was simply awful! When I woke up, I said to myself: “I don’t want any more dreams.” And they stopped, doctor, they simply stopped. Every night I think I would have these beautiful dreams again, but I don’t have any. But the worst, the worst thing is that…” She started to sob deeply. “Liz, what’s going on?” – I asked. “I … simply …. don’t like shopping any more” – she shouted. “Do you understand? My mother took me to a shopping mall to comfort me, as I was sad all the time, and now all the shops seem to be so… I don’t know, dark and dull…”
She left. She wasn’t addicted to shopping any more and there was nothing I could do.

Ten years later…
Ten years later I saw her in a supermarket. She was desperately trying to fill in the trolley with big packages of cornflakes and baby food. A liitle girl in the trolley suddenly shouted: “Mum! Look! A pink rabbit!” and her mum turned back and pushed the trolley more quickly.

Improve your vocabulary!

acne – trądzik
prone – podatny
instantly – natychmiast
baker’s – piekarnia
bookshop – księgarnia
butcher’s – sklep mięsny
department store – dom towarowy
florist’s – kwiaciarnia
furniture shop – sklep meb­lowy
greengrocer’s – warzywniak
jeweller’s – sklep jubilerski
market – targ
newsagent’s – kiosk
offer – promocja
off-licence – sklep monopo­lowy
pet shop – sklep zoologiczny
pharmacy – apteka, drogeria
sale – wyprzedaż
shoe shop – sklep obuwniczy
shopping centre – centrum handlowe
supermarket – supermarket
toy shop – sklep z zabawkami