The shiny apple.
I take it out of the shopping basket. It’s not something important. We don’t need it right now.
The evening has been difficult. Due to a badly-scheduled (by me) Parent’s Evening myself, Tired Mam, Favourite Son and Favourite Daughter are in a supermarket way past bedtime purchasing ingredients for a very quick very late meal.
The soles of my feet are riddled with pins-and-needles. They are wonderful children and this has just been impartially verified. My daughter has demonstrated amazing story-telling abilities and has shamed me. I resolve to start my silly blog again. My son is not the push-over I was beginning to fear he was, but is merely a little man who knows how to keep his own counsel.
My nerves are jangling. The little chairs don’t help, the physical closeness to Tired Mam is not ideal. The brief sensation of shared unconditional love is a bit intoxicating. The whole talk of ‘we’ and ‘us’ when we speak of our parenting. It feels like a charade. As if we would leave the premises and cackle to ourselves. ‘We FOOLED them! For another year! They think we’re happy with this!’Me:
We don’t need that tonight sweetheart. Let’s just put it back.
I’ve just pulled-off a first-class impression of a caring, involved father. I almost convinced myself. I am both but not actively; circumstances are against me. Tired Mam and I have spoken to teachers as if we both daily make a huge effort with their education. When only she does. But it was kind of her to pretend.Favourite Daughter:
I’m not having this. She’s six
now. She knows that you can’t have things purely because you feel like it that moment. Life isn’t that simple.
Tired Mam glances at the contents of the basket.Tired Mam:
It’s two-for-one on ALL the Covent Garden Soups.
A wave of irritation washes over me, familiar and care-worn like an old friend. I wordlessly double-up the soup quota.
There is some debate about bread that is resolved with minimal difficulty.
Their teachers had been talking about the next academic year with total confidence. As if they were sure. That our children would even reside in the same part of the world as they do now in a few months time.Favourite Daughter:
It’s REALLY shiny.
We’re all together but the air is crackling with unsaid things between Tired Mam and I. And I’m doing my best ‘everything is ok’ impression. I couldn't care less how shiny it is. I have other things on my mind. I want to get through this in one piece.
At the check-out I pay for the supplies and also call a taxi for Tired Mam and our offspring. It’s dark and cold now.
As they leave, I think about this:
I have taken the apple out of Favourite Daughter’s hand. It’s not a ‘right now’ thing and this is a ‘right now’ moment. Something hot, quick and nutritious is required.
As I place it back in the weird molded-cardboard that it came from I actually look at it.
I know that Snow White herself would have been taken by this fucker. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It appears to be made of lovingly-polished glass of the deepest deepest loveliest red ever. It is perfectly shaped; think of the word ‘apple’ and this thing will pop into your head. In short. It is gorgeous.
It’s too late though. It fits snuggly back in its cardboard womb and I inform Tired Mam that the two-for-one only applies to the Wild Mushroom variety that isn’t actually very nice.
I should have bought her the shiny apple.