What Goes Around...(9)

By: Carol Marinelli


‘Maybe.’ I give him a smile while thinking, maybe not, but I haven’t got an absolute yes yet and I’m not about to get one this morning, because then the doorbell goes.

I turn and look through the conservatory and down the hallway. I can see Simone through the entry glass and I give her a wave and climb off his lap and walk towards her smiling. One of the reasons that I love my routines so much is the look on Simone’s face when I let her and Felicity in.

I call for Charlotte who’s already halfway down the stairs. I love the tightness to Simone’s lips, even as she smiles. She follows me down the hall apologising for the short notice. ‘I only just got the call,’ Simone explains. While I believe she's got a meeting, I don't believe it suddenly came up at 7.30 on a Monday morning.

I’m quite sure that she's trying to catch me out.

But she won’t.

‘Have you got time for a quick cup?’ I gesture to my tea selection.

‘No, really, I’m in a mad rush. Thanks so much for this, Lucy.’

‘It’s no problem.’

I see her to the door as Felicity takes a seat at the breakfast table and then I walk back inside with a smirk.

You see, it looks as if it’s taken me hours when in fact it takes six minutes and that includes making the bircher muesli. Add in, about twelve minutes freezer preparation time, once a week.

It just takes a bit of organisation and, of course, the initial setup.

Allow me to share!

When my shopping is delivered on Tuesdays, I separate the breads, croissants and the muffins into seven portions. I top up my tea selection basket – initially I bought a selection from a tea boutique in the village, but now it’s just a matter of topping up the Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Anyway, on Tuesdays I also do a top up of the muesli and the jams and honeys - they all live on a large dresser in the conservatory. So, each evening, it's just a matter of putting out plates and teapots and the bread and pastries for defrosting and mixing up the bircher muesli. As I said, it takes six minutes, and it's worth every one of them, because the sight of my lovely clean family, all sitting around my beautifully laid table, has really pissed Simone off.

‘We’ll talk about Portugal tonight,’ he says, aiming a kiss at my cheek. I bite my tongue, because we’ll be speaking about the pony! ‘See you, Baby Girl,’ he says and gives a quick ruffle to Charlotte’s hair. Once he’s gone the girls go on Facebook, while I sort out the dishwasher and then we head out the door, but I’ve forgotten something and dash back and put my mug in my handbag.

That will get her.

I’ve got a cleaner called Rhonda – she’s the laziest woman on God’s earth, I swear. She comes in twice a week and basically does nothing except drink out of my favourite mug.

I’ve tried hiding it – but she finds it.

Even if I put it right at the back of the cupboard, she finds it, uses it and leaves it rinsed and drained on my shiny sink, like a little victory sign.

I hid it in my bathroom cupboard last week, but when I came home, there it was. There was also a pie wrapper in my newly changed bin and she’d been reading my magazines.

I know it.

I should fire her really.

Except you sort of have to have a cleaner in the village.

Though I’d far rather do it myself.

I really would.

I drop the girls at school and hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to yoga I go.

I stand like a tree and pretend to centre but I can’t switch off my mind. I want to know if we are getting another pony. I have to speak properly to him tonight. I hate it, it’s not for me, I’d happily let the idea go – I hate picking up shit and pretending it’s because we love picking up shit and want the real pony experience, instead of the cheaper agistment fees. I loathe it so much, yet Charlotte loves it so much. She really does and I can’t stand how upset she is over Noodle. I can’t stand to see Charlotte upset - maybe I shouldn’t have been so cross that she was on the phone to Alice.

I seem to get cross a lot lately.

I’m not going to get cross with her again, I tell myself. I remember what it was like with mum, how horrible it was when she flew into a rage and I am not doing that to Charlotte.

Calm, I tell myself.

I’m going to be calm and serene.

‘Lucy?’

I look up and I’m still wobbling in my tree position and everyone else is watching me. ‘It’s time for guided meditation.’

I hate this part.

But at least it means that the lesson is nearly done, because all of a sudden my brain tumour’s back.

We walk over and get our blankets and then back to our mats we go. Because you cool down when you relax, we cover ourselves in our blankets and fifteen grown women lie there with their eyes closed while Genna talks crap.