On the last afternoon, of the inspiring http://www.allaboutwritingcourses.com workshop in Cape Town, the start of a short story emerged from my stimulated brain cells 🙂 Here it is…
He’s not your father. by Gail Gilbride
I was waiting for the usual Christmas drama. Dad was carving the turkey and mum was dishing up vegetables, before passing the plates along.
“You shouldn’t let Piet carve Lynnie,” granny was whispering.
“Mum, just pass the gravy.”
I could see dad tense up as he carved the next thick piece against the grain. Mike was shifting the roast potatoes with his knife, so that he could pick out the best ones for himself.
“The turkey’s delicious mum.”
Mike kicked my ankle.
“You’re such a suck up.”
I glanced at mum, trying to get her to look at me.
“I’ll have a little more of that bubbly thanks.”
Mum was pink. She held her flute out to Mike. Dad raised an eyebrow. Then he carried on carving. I pushed the carrots around and then squashed them into a corner.
“No dessert for you my girlie. You know the rules.”
“Yes, Miss goody-two-shoes.”
Mike chinese bangled my arm.
“Oh shush Georgina. Don’t start making a fuss about nothing.”
Mum was picking out another crispy potato to slide onto Mike’s plate.
“I hope you all liked your presents. The librarian recommended…”
Mike shifted in his chair.
“Gran could you give us something other than books next Christmas?”
I watched gran’s eyes mist up as she swallowed.
“Books are boring.”
“I love books,” I said, which was true and not just to make gran feel better.
“Course you do. Why wouldn’t you?”
Mike flashed a sickly smile at me as I squirmed in my seat.
“Funny that Mike,” gran began. “Your mum and dad are such bookworms, I thought…”
“Mike’s dad is not a bookworm.”
I looked at mum. She was swaying a little now and smiling at everyone. Dad didn’t lift his head. Gran got up to clear the plates and Tom moved closer.
“Serve the dessert, Lynne.”
His voice was calm and he folded his serviette carefully. My plate, with the stack of carrots, went along with the rest and a bowl of trifle was put in front of me. Spoons clanged against the porcelain and the grandfather clock gonged two o’oclock.
“This is nice gran,” I said.
She smiled gratefully at me. I hoped she’d say something too.
“ We’ll wash the dishes.”
I looked at Tom and he got up. Mum turned to Mike.
“I need to say…”
“I’m going out.”
“And where do you think you’re going son?”
Dad leaned towards him as if to stop him.
“Dad” echoed around the room, as Mike pushed his chair back and stormed out.
“He still doesn’t want to see you.”
Aunty June accepted another scone. Mum’s eyes were puffy and she sunk into the wingback. I put the teapot on the crocheted cloth and retreated to the kitchen. The back door creaked open and Mike put his finger to his lips.
“You have to see her,” I whispered.
He shook his head.
“Please. She’s desperate.”
“Fetch me my jeans and a t-shirt, on the chair in my room.”
I pushed the swing door and crept along the passage.
Mum jumped up. Mike was already halfway down the drive. Mum was running barefoot. She clutched the gate as she called after him.
“Let me explain. Please. Just give me a chance.”
“Not anytime soon,” he shouted over his shoulder.