Sally stuck out her tongue in concentration as she pulled her brush over the paper, leaving a very nearly straight line of green. There, that was the final stem done. Her picture was nearly finished – big, red flowers with green stems. She knew Mummy liked them, because when The Man gave them she smiled and gave him a kiss. Maybe when she saw Sally’s picture she would kiss her too.
Sally paused. This was the hard bit, and she had left it until last. The brush felt large and clumsy in her small hands as she carefully traced out the letters across the top of the paper. F — o — r — M — u… She didn’t notice the drops of paint fall from her over-laden brush onto the table. Her whole world was on this sheet of paper with the big, red flowers.
The door slammed open. Sally jumped, and the tail of the ‘u’ went skidding through the heart of the freshly-painted flowers. She looked up to see her Mummy standing there. She was not smiling. She was glaring at the table, with the brushes and pots and spots of paint. Then she glared at Sally.
“What do you think you’re playing at, young lady? I told you to do something quietly while I was out, didn’t I? Didn’t I?”
Sally nodded, and bit her lip. She must not cry! Mummy hated crying. Sally looked at the table. It was a mess. Tables should be clean and polished and have a vase of flowers in the middle – not paint and paper. Mummy was cross, and the red flowers weren’t finished. If only the flowers were finished, then Mummy would smile and give Sally a kiss and it would all be alright. But the flowers were spoiled. Everything was spoiled.