Mabel was anxious. She began twisting her fingers through the folds of her skirt. Glancing up at the wooden faced clock on the mantelpiece, she saw that it displayed 6.30. Whispering to herself, “This is what happened the last time. She should have been home an hour ago.”
Suddenly the front door burst open and a cry rang out, “Sorry Mum I’m a bit late but the girls……...” Mabel interrupted her and shouted back, “You went for a drink after work, didn’t you?”
The slim figure of Mabel’s only daughter, Pamela, entered the room. Her face was flushed. Mabel looked up at her, she tried to fix a stern expression, but instantly failed and broke out into a beaming smile.
Pamela returned her smile, “How did you know that?”
Mavis smoothed her skirt and winked, “A mother’s intuition.”
“Sit yourself down, love, I’ll go and get your tea.” Mabel hesitated, “Look I’m glad you’re making new friends, I was just a bit worried, you know.”
Pamela smiled and fluttered her long eyelashes, “Mum, I’m thirty-two,” she protested.
Mabel returned from the kitchen carrying a white bowl between her oven-gloved hands. “Spaghetti Bolognese, or Spag Bog, as you lot call it. “
“Oh, yes, Pamela, this was left for you in Mr. Patel’s shop.” Mabel handed over a white envelope. Pamela put down her fork and examined it. On the front she could see it read ‘FTAO Pamela Heatherington’ written in neat handwriting. Mabel watched intently as her daughter frowned.
Pamela pulled the envelope open. Inside was a small white business card, with more handwriting on the reverse. She stared at the card and then immediately slipped it into her skirt pocket.
“Well?” enquired Mabel.
Pamela didn’t look up. She muttered through a mouthful of spaghetti, “It’s nothing.”
(c) Graham Crisp