Shae stepped up to the counter, holding out a ticket with a number on it.
“Oh, you don’t need to show me that,” the attendant smiled sweetly. “How can I help you today?”
“Umm,” Shae said, her voice barely above a whisper, “could I, umm, renew my driver’s license?”
The attendant leaned forward. “What’s that dear? You’re going to need to speak up, it’s a bit noisy in here.”
“My driver’s license?” Shae said, only slightly louder. “I need to renew it.” She handed her driver’s license to the attendant, who still looked confused.
The attendant looked down, then back up at Shae. “Oh! A renewal?” the woman said, too loudly. Shae flinched, but nodded. “Okay honey, just one moment.” The woman took the license and started tapping information into her computer. After a few moments, she handed the old license back to Shae. “Now you’ll need a new picture, as that one’s quite out-of-date. Stand over there please,” the woman gestured to a hanging screen.
Shae looked at the screen, wishing she could have just kept the old picture, had a more straight-ahead renewal procedure. That’s what I get for getting a haircut, she thought.
She shuffled over to the screen, looked back at the attendant.
“Okay, honey, you can smile now, this isn’t a passport photo. No need to look like a terrorist!” Shae tried to smile at the woman’s joke, and the flash went off. She flinched, tried to keep her hands steady, tried not to shake. “Okay, you can have a seat, I’ll call you over when it’s ready.”
Shae walked over to the chairs, tried to sit in one as far from people as possible. A difficult prospect, given the number of those waiting. Still, she sat, looked around, tried not to draw attention to herself.
A moment later the attendant said, “Shae Lawrence?” a little too loudly. Shae hugged her bag to herself, wished the attention wasn’t being drawn to her. She hurried over to the counter, mumbled a “Thank you,” to the attendant, and hurried to the door.