Back to the fiction! This little piece was inspired by (many) mornings when I am late for work.
“Keys, yep. Phone, yeah and where is my I.D?”
I shuffle through the junk mail on the kitchen counter and find the blue end of my work I.D lanyard and yank it free, while shoving the cold hard corner of toast into my mouth.
A vase, sitting to the side of the counter, and filled with wilted daisies, their once velvet white petals curling and turning brown at the edges, topples over and a waterfall of green tinged, and pungent water spews over the counter and onto the floor.
“Shit. Shit. Shit,” I manage to say as I force the toast down.
Swiveling around until I find my son’s swimming towel on the floor, I try to mop up the mess. The foul smell of the water, mixed with three-day old chlorine reminds me that I was a pretty crappy house keeper. Like I needed another reason to be guilty.
“Phillip. I’ve got to go and there’s water all over the floor. Make sure the kids don’t slip when they come down stairs.”
“Righto. Have a good day, honey,” he calls back down. The shower is running and the glass door muffles the sound as he jumps in.
I make it half way down the stairs before running back up for my handbag.
In the car.
Train app on and I have twelve minutes to make the fifteen minute journey to the station, find parking and run to the train. Sure. I can do that.
Come on! Turn! The light is green! Urgh!
No parking. Why today of all days is there no bloody parking?
Come on, just one break, I want just one break. My phone pings with a text. It’s my colleague Jen. “Just making sure you remembered your slides for the big meeting today.”
My head falls on the steering wheel repeatedly, while the cars streaming into the parking lot behind me, beep incessantly. This cannot be happening.
Train’s just left. I’m not going to make the meeting and the slides are still at home. Even if I drove home, picked up the slides and drove into work, I wouldn’t make it in time. Bloody shit, poop, crap!
I finally move to the side and let the other cars pass, their drivers craning their necks to watch the inconsiderate woman. My fingers white on the steering wheel, as my hair sways with every hard exhale. I wasn’t going to lose it. It’s not respectable to lose it.
Fuck it. The noise is out of my mouth before I even realise that I’m making it. It’s a booming, growling yell and I’m left spent and shaking with tears rolling down my face.
What the hell is happening to me?
The phone rings. Phillip’s slightly balding head, and kind eyes flash up on the screen. The moment I accept the call, I wish I hadn’t. One of the kids in screaming in the background, a proper I’m-hurt-and-I-want-my-Mum scream.
“It’s me.” He manages to get out over the noise.
“Ricky slipped over, didn’t he?”
“Yeah. I think his leg’s broken. We’re in the car on the way to the hospital.”
“Is he alright?”
“I reckon he will be, once he gets something for the pain. Also, I know you have that big meeting this morning and I found your USB on the kitchen table. So I emailed the files to you. Just meet us at the hospital after the meeting.”
Something other than relief hit me, guilt maybe. My boy is going to be alright, and I’m glad that my thoughtful husband, who although he doesn’t listen when I tell him that the floor is wet, remembers that the non-descript USB stick on the counter has the files I need. And here I am having a breakdown in the carpark, because I missed the train.
“No.” I clear my throat and swallow back the tears. “I’ll send the files to Jen and meet you at the hospital.”