KAREN

Posted: April 11, 2015 in Chat

Karen had already showered, her hair was nearly dry, and she was dressed.
It was early. If she was careful now they could all get off on time. A first this week!
And so she called the children; better still she went up and knocked on each door, listened for the sounds, and then entered: clothes, curtains, bathroom. And as each child went through the routine (the value of acquiring a habit that would become automatic in years to come! she reasoned) she tidied the bed covers, the room; she had readied the school clothes, shoes and bags the previous night. With two children, only a year apart in age, it was easier to manage these things, there was little difference in preparations. And as each child sat down in turn in the kitchen, she prepared their lunch boxes at the worktop overlooking the table.

This morning the sun was bright, but with that autumn light she loved so well. The evening had been cool, there was still a good chance of mist lingering in the hollows and hedges, old gardens away from the road; spider webs strung with dew; the scent of dampness in the air, of wood and weeds past their time, grasses and willow herb tall and spindly.

They left the house, and with one last mental scan of rooms, belongings, doors and windows, electricity switches and plug sockets, she closed the front door, and tested it had shut properly. They all made their chattering way down the damp pavements to the school bus stop. This morning there was no scrapping, arguing, bad tempered sulkiness; neither Tim nor Tobias appeared to be going through or dragging around some Junior school melodrama.

She saw both onto the bus with a surreptitious kiss, a loving touch of their heads; and it all went off unnoticed, yet appreciated. She waved them off, noticed them settle in easily with their friends, then walked away. She had her meeting at ten, and before then a good hour to prepare. She made to walk to work through all the smells and colours of an autumn morning. It was turning out to be a good day, no distractions, worries or frets. To get one day like this, just one day!

In a drawer in the bedside cabinet, her old phone rattled. She had meant to trade it in. She had never used it. It was ringing!

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