“Jen, you made it. We’ve already placed our orders.” Sally’s cry carried across the popular mum’s watering hole alerting all that, yes, once again, I was late. Frazzled, hunch-backed and late.
“Quick, Sal’s just started one of her stories.” Kelly, a mother-in-arms, swooped in, refastened the buttons on my shirt bringing to an end the peepshow exposing my greying, stretched nursing bra and rice-pudding stomach, bundled up my two bandits and battered her way to the table next to the over-crowded play area… yet to prove effective against my two Houdinis.
Swiping clumps of untamed hair from in front of smeared glasses, I hauled my nappy bag—i.e. shipping container (note aforementioned hunched-back) from my elbow to the permanent dint in my shoulder, clutched my coffee like the life preserver it was and squeezed into the gap the girls had left for me to catch the latest gos.
“…then ‘you know who’, stuck his ‘you know what’ through the window.” I almost choked as the rest of the gaggle gasped.
Seriously, how Sally and her husband, Clint, got up to half the stuff she claimed was beyond me. How anyone with children under the age of three could get up to a quarter of it was stuff of legend.
But then I studied her “under three”: a clean, calm, cherub wearing a white… yes, white dress. Sitting… yes sitting… unstrapped, in the highchair next to her mother sipping—as in, the fluid was going into her mouth—a bubbachino. Her eyes were a bit red-rimmed. Maybe it was a bit hot? Maybe her nail-polish was the wrong colour?
I wiped my chin of spilt black gold and lifted Matty off the floor by the nappy as he tried to lick some unknown substance from the tiles under my feet.
“…and then, of course the neighbours saw ‘you know what’ and called ‘you know who’?”
The police? D.O.C.S? A film crew? No Sal, I do not know who!
“Ty! Darling, no. Give the lady back her purse.” I flew across the café as only a mortified mother could and wiped grot and snot off the woman’s… Jimmy Choo? crap. “I’m so sorry.” Seizing the back of Ty’s shirt with a clawed fist, I tried not to tattoo fingerprints onto his arm as I pried the contraband from his grip, wiped it down my stained jeans and, with Matty under one arm and Ty’s hand in a vice grip, navigated my way back to our table.
“And that’s why Olivia’s so distraught.” Distraught? Maybe she was medicated. “She misses him so much.”
“Clint?” The whole table turned to look at me. I quickly checked my buttons… and fly while I was at it, because, you know… kids.
Sal screwed up her perfectly remodelled face. “Why would she miss her father?”
“Wasn’t he taken by the ‘you know who’ to the ‘you know where’ for exposing his ‘you know what’ to the neighbours?”
“Mind out of the gutter Jen. No.” She rolled her eyes, covered Oliva’s ears and leaned over. Her perfect breasts didn’t break free or even move within their lacy, lavender lingerie. “The pool cleaner put his ladder through the window and shattered glass was all through MooMoo. We had to throw ‘you know who’ in the ‘you know what’.”
Ugh, one day I was going to have a full conversation, in one sitting, uncensored.