Read the first part here – Part 1
5 o’ clock rolls around and my keys start to jingle as I run to my front door; escaping the rain that now began to pick up from a ‘light shower’ to the ‘drowned rat’ phase. I wipe my feet on my wired doormat that has the word ‘hello’ written in cursive writing – it sits boldly against the copper stained wiring.
There isn’t much to report on as far as my work day, pretty much the same old. My colleague besties Dan and Em we’re having a bit of flanter if my eye saw correctly. Oh, ‘flanter’ means flirty banter apparently. Yeah, that’s a thing now, I’m probably a bit too far gone to be saying such lingo at the grand age of 24. However, there was kind of no other word for it? It was the look they were giving each other as we started to unload a delivery of terracotta pots. We formed a line, a standard working line – the whole pass it on and perfect Chinese whispers scenario. I was being passed pots from the delivery guy – who might I just add, was flinging the pots at me from a great height and fairly fast off the van… terracotta pots are heavy! I drew the short straw standing next to him.
Once I had managed to capture and secure the pot before gravity took over. It was my turn to pass it on to Dan. You know when you just know something is going on. Occasionally I could hear little giggles from Em, and Dan would keep turning back to me smiling from their last exchange.
Insults flew back and forth but followed by momentary pauses of huge grins, nudging each other and giggles. It was quite cute actually, plus they’re younger so they get away with it. Is it the same if we do that in our mid-twenties? I can’t help but cringe at the thought of picturing myself in the same scenario.. but then I’m not one for romance anyway. Something could definitely become a thing between those two flanterous souls! I will keep you updated on that front.
I make my way upstairs, take off my uniform and hang it over the wooden end of my bed. I don’t have this ‘chair’ that everyone talks about. I’m lucky I can just fit a wardrobe in here. I put on an oversized top with a cat on, the graphic is slightly worn away due to the number of times it’s been washed, cried on, slept in, lived in. So what once looked like a cute kitten, now looks like an old stuffed toy a dog has had in its mouth.. the tail is hanging on by a thread and it’s missing an eye. Next, I put on my new Winnie the Pooh bottoms, they’re a brushed cotton so they’re extra cosy. Anything new from Primark you can strut about snug and smug in. It’s comfort at a bargain! I chuck on some fuzzy socks from about 5 years ago and head downstairs.
I get 2 steps down the creaky staircase before my body realises the time and starts to let me know it’s hungry. “Crap!” I muttered, plodding and tutting my way down the stairs, eye-rolling at myself. I forgot the fajita mix – of course, I did, I planned to have that meal yesterday and I’ve slept since then. So yes; I forgot. Never mind I can still have wraps, they just won’t have that smoky spicy kick that I crave every week.
Wraps for tea is a firm favourite in my little 2 up 2 down. It takes me back to my days as an 8-year-old at Margate Seafront – making my way up sand hills that appeared every autumn and disappeared every spring. Sandy toes often followed by sandy knickers as I fall over and roll down them mysterious piles. Mum and dad were never impressed; neither was I, finding sand in the oddest places and having to sweep the bed down as it became just as sandy as the shores. But at the end of the week on a school night, we’d always have wraps for tea! Well, that’s if we had the stuff in – if we didn’t we’d opt for the ever famous Fish n Chip Friday – Much to dad’s disapproval who had to stand in the queue halfway down the street as the whole village wanted in and waved the flag for Fish and Chip Friday! Totally worth it though.
The aroma of fried onions begins to fill my humble abode; next, the peppers and now my tummy really starts to gurgle. I prepare the wraps and set out the table. I fill and fold as I’ve always done and am appreciative of this meal.
Out of nowhere a ‘ding dong’ makes itself present, the doorbell. ‘What!?’ I exclaim with a mouthful of homemade perfection. My eyes widen. I am not expecting anybody? Was I? No. No, I definitely wasn’t. I prepare myself and swallow that mouthful that was definitely not chewed enough but I didn’t have time; so I’ll have to deal with the painful lump in my throat now. I make my way down the claustrophobic hallway to the front door, eerily trying to work out the pink silhouette that blocked out the only light in this part of the house. It’s like a horror film in my head! If this is the way I’m supposed to go, well, at least it will be in comfort – I can’t say much for style though.
I take two more steps before I hear a muted tutting and a whispered, thinking out loud moment – ‘Where is she, come on Dais!’. I sigh a breath of relief, smile and pick up the pace to the door, opening it with the biggest smile and welcoming arms.
“Mum! You scared me, what you doing here?” I say telling her off.
“Oh sorry love, Jackie said she saw you at work today and you looked a bit lonely so I thought I’d come to see my baby – thanks for the welcome though”
Mum had an odd tone about her, she had a voice that carried for miles yet her words were direct and straight to the point. A squeaky voice, but a pleasant one – the voice of a sweet grandma now. I can’t say I can remember her voice always being this way, maybe it’s changed over the years but it was the voice that made everything bad go away – regardless of the circumstance or tone.
Mum is still stood in the rain as I gaze at her in disbelief that she’s just waltzed up to my doorway on a Tuesday evening. I’m grateful, eternally grateful that she’s here – the evening just got a whole lot better.
“Oh, I’m sorry – come in come in! I just wasn’t expecting you that’s all, I’m having tea at the minute but there might some mix left if you want some?”
She comes in and wipes her feet on the mat looking at me in awe that I’m an adult living independently and thriving. I can tell she’s emotional and filled with pride – she’s the same way every time she visits this little house.
“Oo you ‘avin wraps?” She says sniffing the air and pulling the face we all do when we smell fried onions in the air.
“Smell them from a mile away can’t you?” I giggle.
“Can’t beat a wrap, love – I’m sorry I didn’t mean to intru..” “No! Don’t be silly” I interrupt.
We make our way into the kitchen and take a seat. From there the conversation flows and she fills me in on all the gossip I’ve missed. You know for someone in her late 50’s, she’s still heavily invested in the dramas of the village. She always was nosy though – but I don’t mind. It’s something that keeps her going.
“And you know Bill, babe?” She continues…
“Builder Bill?” I confirm.
She nods – “he had a heart attack last Wednesday” I look her in shock as she carries on “yeah I know, didn’t see that one coming, he’s been in hospital for the last 4 days, I’ve been meeting with Trace though, making sure she’s alright bless her heart, she’s been in bits” she says looking down and shaking her head.
Bill the Builder aka Builder Bill, was around the same age as mum. When we lived in the village as children he came round and built the wendy house for me and my brother. He stayed in touch with the family and we went out for a Sunday lunch down The George with them once. A nice couple – but very cheeky and I was far too young to understand the jokes they were making that flew over my head.
“That’s scary” I say looking worried at mum.
“I know” she pauses “smoker though int he, Trace said he’s been struggling the last few years but he won’t be told, typical fella”. Mum had a way with words, it’s not that she didn’t like men, she was just very sure that they were all the same. The whole ‘Men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ is something she strongly agrees with.
There’s silence for a moment and I’m suddenly very aware that I’m eating. Mum cannot stand the sound of people chewing, and I can’t stand the sound of my chewing in front of people. She looks at me and just stares with a smile on her face like she’s about to say something emotional, movie-like and sentimental. I catch her eyes and am transfixed to stare back. “What?” I say, in a moody teenage fashion, because I know she’s going to get soppy.
“I’m so proud of you, you know Dais” she says tilting her head to the side and making her eyebrows form to a weird shape, it’s like she’s going to cry but also that she’s just seen a really cute kitten.
I look down placing the last quarter of my wrap on the plate, I smile whilst finishing the last of the bite – grab her hands across the table and thank her. We have this moment about twice a year and it’s nice. It’s a reminder that I’m doing right by her, I’m making her proud and that everything will be alright for me. As cringy as I find the moment. It’s something I look back on and cherish – it’s the sign that I’m going to be okay. Admittedly these moments are getting more and more emotional as we both realise in each other’s eyes that one day we won’t have a moment like this anymore.
If there’s one thing that moving away and becoming this grown-up has taught me. It’s that time doesn’t wait for anyone. It’s brutal and it will eventually win. We’re just in a long line waiting for our time to come. It’s the hardest pill to swallow knowing that your parents are further in the queue than you – and at some point, you will watch them take their place as 1st; accepting fate whilst you stand back from the sidelines with nothing you can do.
“I love you” I say to her trying my hardest to stop the little droplets form in the corner of my eyes. My lips tremble but mum doesn’t make a scene of it, she just smiles and says it back, tapping the back of my hand before pulling away.
“When are you gonna get a new top? You won’t get a boyfriend with that thing. Doesn’t exactly scream sex goddess does it?” She breaks the emotional scene with her classic screeching ways. My mouth drops to a half laugh half offended face “MUM! I happen to think it’s stunning, and any fella would be lucky to get their hands on this gal!” I say with sarcastic confidence strutting and shaking my bum around the kitchen.
We both giggle and mum starts helping herself to a wrap. “What film you putting on for us then?” she asks with a cheeky smirk, insinuating that we’re having a girlie night in. I smile and run to set up the TV and scour the selection I pay monthly for. This evening is going to be fab.
Thank you for reading, what do you think? Maybe I’ll keep writing this story and end up with a short little book! That would be exciting!
I have no idea what’s going to happen in this story I’m making it up as I go, I appreciate that isn’t ideal but we will see what happens!
Speak soon friends,