“Hey, Ma.” she said, sitting upright in the swivel chair. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here like this. I’m not even dressed to impress; you always told me to look smart for all visitors, no matter who they were. I feel ashamed that you’re seeing me wearing tracksuit bottoms and a scruffy top. Let me get changed.”
“No need my dear,” she whispered. “You’re beautiful just as you are, regardless of what you wear; and besides, it’s the weekend, and you’re allowed to have a down day.”
“Thanks Ma.” Rhonda replied
“How about offering your mother a drink or something?”
“Yes sorry. Ma, would you like anything – tea, coffee? Maybe you’d like a biscuit too? Or perhaps you’d like a slice of carrot and orange cake? Homemade, I might add.”
“The usual tea, one sugar, milk and, er, cake please.” Evelyn replied with a twinkle in her eye.
Evelyn followed Rhonda into the kitchen chatting at nineteen to the dozen. “So I told him; I said ‘Jimmy, you can’t treat Miranda like that, it’s unconventional’, but would he listen? Oh hell no! He just carried on talking to Devon about silly old football. I’ve never understood the game, but when someone talks about it, you may as well be speaking a foreign language.”
Her daughter wasn’t listening; she was too busy making the tea and cutting the cake. Her mother, on the other hand, blazed through topic after topic, without once pausing for so much as a breath. Something about an awards ceremony, made Rhonda’s ears prick up and she put down the double cream pot she had just opened.
“Say that again, would you?” she chirped.
“Manners!” shrieked Evelyn, but she continued anyway. “Well, Charles Hepley is holding an awards ceremony at his mansion for the best 1,000 word short fiction story. If you want to be in for a chance, then I suggest you get writing fairly soon, as the closing date is next month. However, the awards ceremony isn’t until June, and as it’s only March, you’ll be fine, so long as you enter a story. It can only be one entry per person, I’m afraid, but you’ll blow the competition out of the water.” Evelyn beamed, showing off her envious pearly whites. Rhonda sucked at her fag stained teeth and sighed.
They chatted for a while longer until the house phone rang – it was Rhonda’s dad, with some great news. Graham’s voice crackled down the poor connection line.
“So, pumpkin, I’ve been speaking to Sergeant Mullford, and I have leave for the next two months, so we can meet up if you’d like? Catch up; learn new things, that sort of thing.”
Rhonda smiled at her mother, and tweeted down the phone. “When are you home then, dad? I can’t wait to see you again. It’s been too long and I think about you every day. This is gonna be one heck of a couple-a-months!”
Graham chuckled and then sighed. “Tomorrow, I’m put on an early flight. I’ll be leaving Iraq at six in the morning and should arrive in England in two days and five hours’ time. I’m sorry you won’t get to see me until Wednesday afternoon, most likely. There’s not much I can do about that, sweetheart.”
“Just as long as you are coming, I’ll look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.”