Him: Mum, can my friend Elly pop over and borrow some muffin tins? She’s made the batter already, and just realised she doesn’t have any. Me: Sure [feeling smug that I’m such a domestic goddess]. But I need them back in a couple of days… ONE MONTH LATER Me: [Texting ’17’ at his Dad’s] Hey where are my muffin tins? Him: Oh yeah. Hang on… [Multiple teenage communication apps launched simultaneously] They’re at her Mum’s. But she’s at her Dad’s. Me: Well I need them back ASAP [Subtext “Before I forget for another month”] Him: Hang on… [Apps flurry & beep]… Can you get them yourself? She won’t be back till after weekend. Me: [*sigh]. Sure. What’s address? And her Mum’s name? We’ve never met. Him: [Flurry & beep] Address is ******. Me: [In Blue] Me: Wait- so I have to let myself into her Mum’s dark house, ‘cos no one’s home? Him: Yup. Back door always open. It’s cool Mum. 30 MINUTES LATER
Me: Honey, you need to wipe up please. Don’t you have to do chores at Dad’s? Him: Are you kidding me? I have to empty the dishwasher, make my own school lunch, feed the dogs, AND babysit my two brothers; it’s like Boot Camp up there!
The scene: Kitchen, breakfast routine underway before school, radio playing Him [suddenly lunging at radio & turning it up loud]: I love this band! Me [having heard only 2 notes of song]: Who’s this? And how did you know who it was so fast? Him: Because it was the beat that says ‘This is totally this song’.
Me: I’m glad you didn’t have a party while I was away, & you did a great job on leaving the house tidy, but I’m fussy about the kitchen bench tops for a reason, and look, you’ve somehow made a big, permanent stain Him: Oh shit! Sorry Mum. How did I do that? Me: I dunno Sweetie, but that’s why I nag you not to put hot pans straight on the counter. If you were renting this place, you’d get money deducted from your rental bond for that, just so you know… PAUSE Him: Well, when you rent it cheap to me to go live in France or Bali, I’m going to paint it all white, so it doesn’t really matter now does it?
Me: Remember I’m going to Perth for a week’s work tomorrow, which means you can’t stay home here alone, you gotta go back to Dad’s. Him: Mum, I’m nearly 18, I can look after myself… Me: You’re not 18! You only just turned 17; you’re still too young. PAUSE Him: I’m 17 and a half actually. Me: [counting months on my fingers] OK, you’re 17 and 4 months… LONG PAUSE Him: Well, in my mind I’m already 30, so what’s your point Mum?
The Scene: Palm trees swaying, blue sky shining, ridiculous rainbow-coloured birds squawking, plus me, dozing in bed in Australia, in that moment before being fully conscious. Me: Mmmmmmmm, I think I’m awake. Evil Elf Who Lives In My Brain And Synced To My Smartphone (now known as EVIE): What time is it? Better check your phone. Me: Nah, today’s Sunday, and I’m having a tech-free morning. EVIE: What!? When did you decide that?? Dumb idea. Just check your phone. Me: No. I’m simply going to lie here, listening to the birds. PAUSE EVIE: How hot d’you reckon it is? Maybe you should check the weather app? Me: NO. PAUSE EVIE: Maybe you got a late text from ’17’, and he needs picking up soon? Or what if ‘H’ sent something romantic/sexy first thing? Me: True. But they’ll still be there after I’ve had a pot of peppermint tea and meditated. I just want a peaceful tech-free hour. EVIE: An hour! But… but… don’t you need to check your WordPress stats? Me: Nah. It’s Sunday, and …
Him: I hate it when you wear your hair in bunches like that. Me: Deal with it dude [*rolling my eyes]. LATER Me [rushing in from verandah where I’ve been reading quietly]: Oh my god, did you see that? A bird nearly flew into my head!? Him [without looking up from his book]: I told you, it’s that hairstyle, it makes you a target.
Him: One more week of school then I’m on holidays for a month. Me: [In hopeful tone] But we’re still doing fortnight on/fortnight off aren’t we? Him: Not a chance Mum! At Dad’s I have to live on cereal all day; being here is like staying at some kind of foodie resort… I ain’t going anywhere…
Him: ‘Mum look, I’ve created a Study Nook! I’m so going to get on top of my assignments.’ Me [Looking at my now un-useable spare room, complete with blocked access to my linen cupboard, and removal of my only bedside lamp plus the living room coffee table]: ‘That’s great Honey…’ ONE WEEK LATER Me [Having taken back my bedside light, and moved the coffee table so I can get sheets & towels out]: ‘How’s the study going?’ Him: ‘Well I can’t work now that my habitat’s been destroyed.’
Me: Whatcha doin’? H: Baking a lime cake Me [having sent approx 25 various unrequited selfies of me & cat/me & food/me & sunsets]: Oooh, send me a pic! H: