Is it Fiction, is it Friday? This week I share the blog of a writer introduced to me by Baz the Bad Blogger … I take no responsibility for what she may say…
WANDA ON WEDNESDAY
The Woman Who Tells It How It Is
THIS WEEK – WANDER WITH WANDA
This week H3 and I have been travelling and visiting, with all the unpleasant mingling with people that involves; and that’s just H3’s relatives.
At the inevitable motorway services we encountered that condition I am fortunate not to suffer from, ‘Indecision’. It gives me indigestion when people hover as I eat. We knew they were a posh family because the fortyish woman with long legs, tight jeans, designer boots and jacket addressed an expressionless facelift woman as ‘Mummy.’ ‘Daddy’ stood with arms dangling, slender fingers deathly white, a medical condition perhaps, certainly he did not look robust enough to cope with young grandchildren. There was a toddler in a wheeled contraption and a boy of pre-school age.
In an unusual moment of grandmotherly sympathy I said ‘Plenty of room here’ motioning to the table next to us and the pair of empty chairs at our table. H3 frowned at me.
Yes, we are to be a grandmother, the daughter waited till the twelve week scan to break the news. I told her not to expect me to baby-sit, as with the puppy when she was nine, ‘You wanted it, you can look after it.’ Of course it’s about time, I had told her often enough not to leave it too late; she’s older than Meghan. I had even tactfully asked if there might be a problem, wouldn’t have been surprised if her so called ‘partner’ was not up to the task. H3 already has a couple of grandkids, in New Zealand thankfully.
Anyway, back to motorway services. How hard is it, in a building full of tables and chairs, to find somewhere to sit for three adults and two kids? A staff member was summoned to clean the table and Grandma steered the baby vehicle behind us. A high chair appeared and was wedged in behind H3’s chair, toddler was inserted and boy enveloped in an arm chair and given a plastic box of healthy fruit portions. His mother dashed off to the loo with the question of what to eat and drink and who was to fetch it, left in the air.
It came to me then that the whole ‘family motorway operation’ is an insurmountable problem; the unfamiliar high prices, the atmosphere of rush, the jumble of counters and tills leaves even normally functioning adults in a quandary.
The mother returned with news of a better table spotted just as Granddad tried to move the high chair a fraction; the tray came off surprisingly easily in his frail arms and he nearly toppled backwards.
‘Come on Darling,’ mother to boy ‘we’re going to another table.’
‘I don’t want to move’ followed by an ear piercing scream.
Perhaps he had one of those syndromes, or maybe he was just a brat. By now H3 had his impending migraine expression and I had indigestion. I leaned in to make a witty remark to cheer him up.
‘Shsh, they’re sitting behind you, they’ll hear’ he whispered.
Further conversation was impossible as the toddler, upset by her brother’s tantrum, decided to join in. H3 made a play of looking at his watch then stood up; he did not want to be rude and look as if we were escaping from them.
H3’s relatives took us to a well known family restaurant chain which I had not visited since the days when the daughter was little and it was H1’s idea of the perfect family outing, no wonder I divorced him. At the bar for drinks, while we waited interminably for a table, we found ourselves in the middle of an old boys’ reunion. Memo to self, never attend a reunion when you get past a certain age, even if you are hale and hearty you will be cast into dark despondency by the sight of former lively colleagues with walking sticks, stoops and tremors.
‘Hello Dave mate, how are you doing?’ translation ‘Oh my God, I hardly recognised you.’
Our table was on the other side of a flimsy trellis from a children’s birthday party, could it get any worse? Yes, our very attentive waitress, did not allow the confined space to deter her from appearing like a parrot at my shoulder every ten minutes to ask if everything was all right… and all the while H3’s aunty trilled how she always came here because she liked the salad bowl.
Imagine my relief at the end of the week to be alone in a First Class lounge at Heathrow Airport, or so I thought until I heard loud voices. Buying a first class ticket does not make you First Class, common was the word that sprang to mind. When an attendant brought my coffee and croissant I gestured to the couple who were now complaining to another member of staff.
‘Nouveau Riche?’ I whispered.
She stifled a giggle and nodded.
Other passengers sighed with relief when the couple’s flight was called, except for those on the same flight.
We all sat in silence with newspapers, books and lap tops, but sometimes it can be too peaceful. Mr. Important Businessman sat opposite me and methodically opened his lap top and briefcase and inserted earpieces, looking round with an expression that said Do not disturb, important e-mails to answer, vital documents to read.
Within seconds his head drooped and he was fast asleep, woken only half an hour later by the call for my flight. He sat bolt upright in alarm, then glared accusingly at his lap top screen, he managed to swallow his pride enough to ask me which flight had been called; he was on the same flight.
I gathered my belongings calmly, I had written and scheduled this blog five minutes before the call. I enjoyed imagining him arriving utterly unprepared for his meeting of world importance.
Read more flash fiction and stories of all sorts including two novellas.
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