“George, be careful.” She bent over to inspect the damage, but he was already back outside. She watched her son dash down the garden, his Batman cloak fanning behind him, his sister’s pink Barbie gloves pulled on over his trainers.
A glance at the clock told her it was another three hours until bedtime. She’d be more than ready for a nice Gin by then.
“Mum,” Gaby said in her characteristic whine, “Gregg says I’ve got to call him Sir Galahad. What’s a Galahad?” Grace looked at her youngest daughter, rubbing the hair from her eyes with a floury hand.
“Sir Galahad, he was a knight.”
“Night?” Gaby crinkled her nose in clear confusion. “Like day and night?”
“No, a Knight. Like the Knights of the round table.”
“Like Nanan Gladys’ round table? She’s got a round table.”
Taking a deep breath, Grace chewed her lip, trying to remember something from her school days. She was saved by the shrill sound of her mobile phone. Scanning the kitchen, she spotted it hiding beneath a tea towel, triumphantly retrieving it at the exact second that it stopped ringing.
“Typical. Bloody typical.” she muttered, turning her attention back to the pan of potatoes which was beginning to boil over.
“Aw, Mummy said a bad word.” Gaby crossed her arms across her chest, shaking her head in a way that mirrored Grace’s own actions.
With a roll of her eyes, Grace glanced out of the window, just in time to see 7 year-old Gregg kick his football in the direction of her favourite garden gnome.
“Gregg!” she screamed, a second too late. The fragile figure smashed into a dozen pieces along with what was left of Grace’s nerves. Grinning, Greg looked up at the window and with a shrug, mouthed his insincere apology.
With the dinner under control, Grace rubbed her hands on her apron, trying to no avail to round up her children.
“Girls, come on.” she grabbed her daughter’s arms as they tried to duck away. “We’ve got to write on these cards for Nanan Gladys and Grandad Gordon’s Golden Wedding Anniversary.” All four children groaned. “No complaining. Come on.” She doled out pens to each child, setting them on with writing as she took a much needed gulp of coffee.
“No, Gaby. Oh Mum, tell her. She’s writing like a ginormous giraffe. Look.”
“Gillian, she’s only four. Leave her alone.” Gaby’s lip began to quiver. “It’s okay sweetie, your writing is fine.”
“But, I don’t want to write like a ginormous giraffe. Giraffes smell.” Gaby began to sob.
“You don’t write like a ginormous anything.” Grace appeased her daughter. “Why don’t you help Mummy stick these bows on the gift?” Gaby’s face brightened in an instant.
“Yeah!” The sound of their father returning from his game of golf distracted the children from the task in hand.
“What’s that?” he nodded towards the neatly wrapped gift on the table.
“It’s for Nanan Gladys and Grandad Gordon.” Gaby answered on her mum’s behalf.
“Bit generous ain’t it?” he raised an eyebrow at his wife.
“Ooh, someone’s grumpy.” Bob, grinned at his children.
“I think it’s her time of the month.” Gregg smiled, attempting to wink like his dad.
With a deep breath and thoughts of Gin, Grace took her frustrations out on the granite work-surface, scrubbing it to within an inch of it’s life.
“Here, love. Where’s the remote?” Bob called through from the living room.
“I wouldn’t know, dear.” Grace replied, her words dripping with resentment.
“I reckon we’ve got one of those ghost thingies. Y’know the ones that move things around.”
“They’re called poltergeist, dad.” Gillian puffed out her chest with pride.
“Regular clever clogs, you aren’t you?” Gillian nodded, casting a sideways glance at her siblings to make sure they had heard.
Carrying an armful of toys, Grace glanced at the television.
“Grandstand?” her tone was incredulous. “Repeats of Grandstand, really, Bob?”
“Nowt else on, love.”
Shaking her head, she threw down the toys, letting them clatter into the toy box.
“Does it never occur to you that I might need a little help?”
“You’ve always got it all under control.” Bob smiled at her, giving her one of his signature winks. Puffing out her cheeks as she exhaled, Grace stomped back into the kitchen.
“Mum,” came Gaby’s whine, “What’s a gollum?”
“I don’t know darling. i think it might be a character in Lord of the Rings, or something. Why?”
“Gregg says I look like one.”
“Oh. That’s nice.” Grace turned her focus back to the dinner.
“Mum, what’s a gravestone?” Grace looked at her daughter. What was with the constant questions? From what she could remember, the thers hadn’t been like this.
“A stone that you put on top of graves.”
“What’s a grave?”
“Where people are buried when they die.”
“But, people go to heaven when they die.” her bottom lip began to tremble again.
“Crap. Yes, yes they do. But we have – “
“Aw, you said crap. You said crap. Mummy said crap. Daddy, Mummy said crap.” Her attention diverted, Gabby skipped off, humming out-of-tune with the radio. Cher’s ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves’ was playing, one of Grace’s favourite songs. Strolling back into the kitchen, Bob scratched his belly, as he stood before the open fridge door.
“You’re dinner’ll be ready soon.”
“Hmm. I’m just a bit peckish.” Bob, picked up a yoghurt, squinting at it, before putting it back.
“I said, your dinner will be ready soon. Honestly, you’re worse than the kids.”
With a huff, Bob shut the fridge, waited two seconds and opened it again, a ritual he repeated three more times before retreating back to the sofa.
“Mum,” came Gaby’s relentless whiny voice, “What does Giving Grannies a good time mean?”
“Daddy said it. What’s it mean?”
“Your dad said it? Why – Oh, never mind. Come on get your hands washed ready for dinner.”
“They are clean. What’s it mean?”
“What?” Grace juggled the pans as she tried to serve out the dinner before it got cold.
“Giving Grannies a Good Time. What’s it mean? Like taking them to the park?”
“Yes, yes. That’s exactly what it means.”
“It doesn’t make much sense.” Gaby splashed soapy water all over the cupboard.
“Nothing your dad says does.”
Bob walked back into the kitchen just as his dinner was placed on the table.
“Here, get your Gemima to babysit next Saturday, we’ll go to Gilgamesh, that new restaurant that’s just opened.” Grace was about to smile at the thoughtful, almost romantic gesture, when Bob swallowed and finished the sentence.
“I’ve got some coupons for free meals. All the lads from work are going with their missuses.” Slumping down in her chair, Grace sighed at the thought of spending an evening with Gary the gringle and Gina. She would rather stay in and watch Glee. As she took puhed a forkful of potato inyo her mouth, she realised that there were a lot of things she did that she didn’t like.
Always entertaining guests, dinner parties, barbecues; going out with people she despised. Making idle chit-chat with the airheaded Gina, always putting on an act. Her life had been put on hold for too long. She had expected sacrifices to come with having children and getting married, but things had been one-sided for too long. She did the lion’s share of the work, cooking, cleaning, child-rearing while Bob played golf, or watched the football, or played on the X box.
She couldn’t remember the last time she had done something just for her. She wanted to join a book club, take an evening class in Gestalt Psychology, join a gym. Suddenly it all clicked into place, and she knew exactly what she should do. As Bob smothered his pork chops in ketchup, Grace calmly got to her feet.
“Mum, I’m full. Can I have my Gingerbread man now?” George grinned.
“Not now, George.” She didn’t want to lose the momentum she had built.
“Ooh, love. Pass us a can of Grolsch, while your up.” “No.” Grace’s tone was calm as she walked upstairs and began neatly packing Bob’s suitcase.
This friday flash was brought to you by the letter G, as part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
Earlier this week I put out a call for G related prompts. Thanks to everyone who replied.
Glee, Gingerbread, Gift, Gestalt Psychology and Ghost from Ben.
Gnome, Grace and glove from Kirsty Stanley.
Gordon and ‘giving grannies a good time’ from Rebecca Brown.
Gypsies from Juliet Boyd.
Gollum, Gilgamesh and gringle from Tim VanSant
Grinning, grumpy, Giraffe, Golden Anniversary, generous, granite, guest, garden, Grandstand, Sir Galahad, girls and gravestone from Trevor Belshaw via Twitter.
I know I’ve cheated a little, but it was my idea and I make the rules, so there.