Candy Floss Part 3

This is the third and final part of Candy Floss that I am linking to the fabulous Summer of Words and Prose for Thought.   You can read the first part here then click on this link to read the second part of my story.

candy

Isabella

I woke up to the cry of a wounded elephant in our living room. I knew what it sounded like because I once watched an animal programme about Africa on TV and this rescue team found an elephant with a thorn stuck in its foot. I cried with the elephant but there was a doctor with the team. She pulled the thorn out, the grey giant wriggled its trunk and I could stop worrying.

I left Alice snoring in mum’s and dad’s bed and went to see how an elephant got into our house.

I could hear it break things so I decided to tell it off. I tiptoed downstairs. Silly animal, of course there isn’t enough space in our house. I will help you find a way out, just stay still. I wondered where mum and dad were. I wondered whether mum came back and got dad his surprise.

A shadow of a beast was raging. I could hear it wail, kick something and howl some more. My heart was racing. Wild animals can smell your fear. I had to be brave so I held my breath and opened the door.

‘Dad, what’s wrong?’ I sprung to the body curled up on the floor. He was rocking from side to side, next to him a broken bottle and a glass and a phone smashed to pieces. A strong smell in the air. My dad’s hand was dripping blood. He turned his red, snotty face towards me and at first I smiled. Silly dad, had a tantrum like Alice, maybe he and mum had another fight.

‘Mum?’ I said out loud. Dad squeezed my hand so hard he left marks on it. I looked at the blood dotted on my nightie and at my dad’s shiny face and I knew. My mum was not coming back.

Once upon a time baby girl hid in her mother’s tummy underneath nine duvets, each a different colour, that protected her from all the Evil and everything else for nine months. Any music that reached her was muffled by the layers upon layers while the girl floated catching the stars.

Then one day her mum got bored with carrying the baby in her tummy and decided that the girl was ready to face the big world. As if by magic, one duvet disappeared after another. The sounds got louder, the light sharper, and the girl shut her eyes, covered her ears, kicked and scratched the hands that pulled her out. The stars dispersed and there was blood everywhere. When the last protective layer, pink and fluffy, was gone, the girl opened her eyes, uncovered her ears and stopped yelling. She breathed in the smells of the hospital disinfectant and her mum’s perfume and whimpered for some milk. Her life on the other side began.

This was one of my favourite bedtime stories.

From the night I found out until mu mum’s funeral I stayed with the pink duvet over my head, with my knees tucked up. No tears could be uncried. No pain could be undone. I sobbed and sobbed and I wished I had never watched that stupid elephant programme.

My sweet Alice brought a bowl filled with corn flakes and a glass of milk three times a day. Sometimes a pair of shiny black shoes came near my bed, stopped for a few minutes and strode away.

On the day of my mum’s funeral the sky opened, the angels cried with me and I told them to stop. ‘You have my mum now. You should be glad.’ After the brief ceremony I took Alice by the hand and we went for a walk.

‘Look! Look! Kite.’ I followed Alice’s hand and there it was – a red kite swirling in the air like the one we saw at the beach that day. We waved at mum.

‘There you are girls. Hurry up.’ Miss Jones appeared behind us.

‘I will be back.’ I whispered and followed her to the car.

Days passed; they turned into weeks and school was over for the summer. Nice policemen came to our house a few times, then stopped. Phrases like accident and tragic circumstances followed us for a while, then new memories erased them.

Once or twice Dad took me and Alice to the zoo; we ate chocolate ice cream and we had fun. Then he went back to living in his office and Miss Jones took care of us.

‘Poor souls,’ was what she said every time she saw us. ‘I’m not a bloody glorified nanny.’

I liked her. She smelled of cigarettes and chocolate biscuits.

Miss Jones let us eat cake for breakfast. We did not have to wash our hands all the time. I never had to face broccoli again.

Alice stopped wetting her bed and I stopped dreaming about chasing the red kite with my arms stretched out, almost touching it but never close enough. The clouds stifled my screams.

Trees turned from lively greens to warm yellows and cheeky reds. That September afternoon Alice and I were rolling in the leaves in the garden when dad called us in. I checked the time. It was not lunch yet.

‘Sit down girls.’ Dad was clutching a magazine with a picture of a big building that made me think of a palace, with its perfect rows of trees stretching on both sides. Alice squealed.

‘Daddy, surprise, daddy.‘ She was spinning as she always did when she was very excited.

‘The thing is… I’ve a new job is in Singapore,’ his jaw clenched. I’d heard of Singapore in the geography class. It was far far away and dragons lived there. I wondered if the palace was in Singapore, our new home.

‘I’ve to leave very soon. Miss Jones will..,’ his voice trembled.

‘Surpriiiiiiiiiiiise.’

‘Alice, for god’s sake. Stop it,’ he banged the table. Alice stopped with a sigh, then he continued and with every word a bit of me disappeared. The palace in the photo was our new home, a boarding school in Switzerland where Alice and I would spend the next few years.

My lip quivered.

‘Don’t look at me like that Isabelle. You are a big girl and I expect you to take care of your sister. It’s an excellent school, very expensive so please be grateful. Enough with the drama, please. You will be back for Christmas and school holidays and if I can’t get away from work, you’ll stay with Uncle George and his family in Surrey.’

He let his hands fall open.

‘I hate you just like mum did, bloody Bloodsucker!’

I did not expect him to hit me. His palm and my shame burned on my cheek all night. I swore I would never say a word to him again.

Before we left for the airport I hid from everyone’s view in my parent’s bedroom. The sunshine poured in like honey and the dust swirled in the air. Something shiny was sticking out from underneath the bed. Mum’s favourite bottle of perfume. I put it in my pocket.

‘Alice. Isabelle. Time to go,’ the staccato of Miss Jones’ heels echoed in the hallway.

I sat in the car with my back straight, my fingers clutching the bottle and my teeth sunk into my lip. I found the physical pain soothing. Alice played with the big white buttons on her coat. Miss Jones was checking over and over our travel and school papers that she had stuffed in a big yellow envelope. She was tapping her foot while dad was shouting on the phone and firing people until we rolled into the parking lot.

‘Come on girls. Say goodbye to your dad.’

Dad’s face transformed into a grimacing mask and we crawled outside. It was refreshing to feel light rain on my face. Within seconds the sky opened and the mild drizzle turned into downpour.

The driver re-started the engine and I looked my dad in the eyes, the weeping glass between us. His lips moved but I could not hear him. I stuck my tongue out and he turned his back.

A plane roared above and the clouds turned into a funny shade of pink, just like candy floss.

The three of us ran inside.

‘Ready?’ Miss Jones straightened my skirt.

‘Yes.’

She threw the envelope into a bin.

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Toy Stories

Very touching photos by Gabriele Galimberti!

At the moment, BlueTed (44 years old and still going strong – used to be BlueBeretDad’s best friend) and Mr Duck (about 10 months old) and Peanut are inseparable. Our wee gang of three.

I spent days and often nights talking to and playing with my brown toy dog called Jim (smuggled from “behind the Iron Curtain”). Jim is currently retired and lives with BlueBeretGranny and Grandad on a farm in a far away country.

What are your toy stories? Join in the nostalgic trip 🙂

Mummy’s Gone

Tonight is the night. I am actually going out for the first time in nine months, two weeks and three days.  By going out I mean:

  • no Peanut
  • no schlepping around a supply of nappies and a gigantic changing bag
  • wearing very insensible shoes
  •  wearing an outfit without having to ask myself first: “How easy is it going to be to   get my boob out and shove it into Peanut’s mouth?”

As I am standing at the door saying goodbyes BlueBeretDad is giving Peanut a bath.  Actually, judging by the amount of foam and water over the Big Man it is the other way round.

“So, are you sure you are ok? Remember to put on the big nappy for the night. Big nappy.  The other ones leak.”

“I know” says BlueBeretDad.

“And try to keep him awake for another 15 minutes or he will be up at five.  Do you think you can manage?”

“Fine.”

“Bye bye bye bye”  Peanut does the two-handed version of the royal wave and I lock the door behind me.

As I walk towards the restaurant to meet my book club chums I wonder whether this time we are actually going to discuss the book.  Hope not as I haven’t read mine – Peanut ate my book is my excuse tonight.  A few visions of Peanut accidentally drowning in the bath and BlueBeretDad accidentally climbing into the toilet (or was it the other way round?) later I wave at my fellow book – clubbers.  In my pocket the mobile starts vibrating to the familiar Psycho tune.

“Hello?”

“Hi it’s me. Is the milk supposed to be 28 degrees?” my Other Half says.

“What? I don’t know.”

“Whaaaaaaaahawhahahwha”

“What?” I say.

“The milk. Too hot. How do I know it is not too hot before he drinks it?”

“Two ways – one is to drink a bit of it. Or give it to Peanut and see what happens – don’t recommend it. “ I say.

“What?”

“Whaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaawhawhahwahwah” Patrick expresses his view on the problem.

“Nevermind.  Do you want me to come back?”

“No.  Have fun.  Bye”

The last one to arrive I sink my butt onto the comfy chair and let out a heavy sigh.  But before I manage to say “I need a drink” the mobile starts jumping around the table “Yeah, I know, that psychotic Psycho ringtone.  Now that I have a child I will change it.”

BlueBeretDad on the line:

“His sleeping bag is not in his cot.”

“Right.  Did you check in our bed?”

“No” the floor creaks and I realise that I can tell exactly where he is.

“Found it.  Ok.  Have fun.”

“Bye” He is gone.

Five margaritas later I stumble back home.  Had a great time with the girls and no, we never got round to discussing the book.  As I slowly climb the stairs to our flat I start thinking about things that I used to do and never really appreciated until Peanut came along:

  1. Painting my nails – now it is a military operation planned six months in advance.  Very risky no matter how well I map out the strategy.  Have already ended up with Peanut’s fingerprints on my otherwise “immaculate” nail varnish a few times.  Well, 16 years to go…
  2. General de-fuzzing  – could previously take hours contemplating every millimetre of my calves and making sure every hair follicle was annihilated.  Now it is a supersonic job – roughly five seconds per leg done while Peanut alternates between trying to force the shower door open while I keep on blocking it with my free elbow  and /or knee and trying to stick his hand, head and the rest of his tiny body into the toilet bowl.  More often than not my “used to be so smooth” legs are covered in fuzzy islands.  I’m so glad I live in Scotland as chances of me getting out with bare legs in the next 10 years are 0.1%.
  3. Having a hot drink/soup/anything even close to lukewarm.
  4. Writing emails undisturbed by Peanut banging furiously on my keyboard and therewith   activating stuff on my laptop I had no idea existed.
  5. Reading a book/newspaper without anyone trying to eat half of it.
  6. Having a shower on my own.
  7. Being in the toilet on my own without a mini human being finding whatever business is going on there so hilarious he has to take a closer look.
  8. Having an uninterrupted conversation with another adult.
  9. Sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.
  10. Wearing black cloths without a risk of them being covered in snot, spit and stains (mainly food) within two seconds of me putting them on.  I am the ultimate yummy mummy, ask the Edinburgh seagulls.
  11. Did I mention sleep?  Sleep in any position possible.  Anywhere.  Just sleep.

Things on this list that I was extremely bothered about in my pre-Peanut life: all of the above.

Before I wobble, fall over and fall asleep on the floor in the hallway I hear BlueBeretDad’s big snore followed by a mini snore coming from the nursery.

Things on this list that I am extremely bothered about now that Peanut is here: none.

Gentle Walk into that Good Night…

One of those typical evenings in our house….

22:50:49

As my Other Half and I sink comfortably into the couch and congratulate ourselves on our comatose son – Peanut a familiar sound reaches us. I swear I can hear something.  It is a stir and some whimpering.  Pretty certain there was a stir. And a tiny tiny whimper

22:51:51 seconds

Second check. I can hear nothing. Nothing is good or is it? Nothing could mean the Baby was kidnapped. Or has been attacked by Mr Duck.  If looks could kill my Other Half would be annihilated in that very second.

“I told you not to leave Mr Duck in the cot. Mr Duck could be to our Baby what the Asteroid was to Siberia last week”.

We don’t dare to move a muscle, our ears directed towards the nursery. Still nothing. Nothing is good. Nothing could mean the Baby is asleep or could it…

22:53:03 seconds

Time for the Operation Check if Peanut is OK and Avoid the Bloody Creaking Floors.

Still nothing and I decide that maybe this is not good news. My Other Half is hypnotised by a bunch of men chasing a ball on our flatscreen TV.  I realise I am on my own and I am on a mission to check how Peanut is doing.  I tiptoe into the hallway. It is dark and cold, the vast plain of the beige carpet ahead of me.

The first creak is loud, I swear and focus – breathe in and out, in and out and get into the zone. Inspired by the Swan Lake I take a few quick steps and manage a pirouette before I stop on the door leading to the nursery. Now, there is one thing you should know about our flat. It is modern and lovely and warm and cosy and not Peanut – Proof ..yet …but… the floors creak and that wakes Peanut up.  That means my daily precious 180 minutes drooling in front of TV are gone and that makes me upset.  Over the last few months my Other Half and I have devised ways of Beating the Big Creak. Here are some of our top strategies:

a)      The Swan Lake tip toe, pirouette and stop on the door – high risk of bruised face and shattered teeth, the Creak Factor 4 out of 10

b)      Stomp stamp stomp bang the door stomp stamp stomp – it is quick but the Creak Factor is 8 out of 10 plus all the additional noise

c)       Slow motion steps – one giant step for me one giant step for the baby – takes ages but the Creak  Factor is only 2 out of 10. I recommend it for the advert breaks.

d)      And the crawl  – slowly slowly very slowly I creep and crawl and it takes an eternity to get there and back but the Creaking Factor is only 1 out of 10

22:54:06 seconds

As I crawl towards the cot I hear the noise – a bit of snoring and gurgling accompanied by a loud fart and more snoring. Having assessed the situation I decide not to compromise Peanut’s safety and remove Mr Duck out of the Sleepy Zone. Pits, pack, crack, get out. Time for the last check – “Is His Face OK” test and I reach for my tool – the mobile phone screen. The world stops moving. Holding in my breath (thanks to my Power Yoga teacher I can hold it in for a very long time) I hover the screen above Peanut’s face.  Yap, seems fine until the picture of my Other Half pops up on it to the theme tune from Psycho

“What?”  Why has nobody invented soundless whispers yet? Why is he calling me from next door? Oh, yeah, the floors.

“Is he ok?”

I hang up and leave.

22:54:10 seconds

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawhaaaaaaaaaaaaawhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa