Louisa’s bare feet took the brunt of the mini cheddar crumbs as she trudged towards the cupboard under the stairs to fetch her meditation cushion. A lot of the mums were doing it now, as well as Prosecco, to balance things out.
Beige oversized living room curtains drawn, she clambered down into position, pausing for a moment, only to hear Magnus clattering around in the kitchen, despite the door being closed.
And breathe…make space for the memories.
“Mummy! I have a super important question,” her son announced, skidding in to the living room like Bambi on ice.
Teddy’s query was another in a long line to stall going to sleep. Louisa had never been a contestant on Mastermind and wanted to scream that she didn’t know why some people liked eggs, but his friend Charlie thought they were gross. Teddy duly despatched, Louisa settled cross-legged again.
And breathe…find room to remember.
Teddy had apparently tried eleven times to get to sleep but couldn’t. He’d been out of the room for less than two minutes.
“This is mummy-time now, Ted. Please go to bed and read your book.”
“Hate you!” came his reply, but amazingly, her seven-year-old left the room as he was told, taking his skinny frame and dark brown curls back upstairs, but not without a bit of stomping for effect.
Her cheekbones tingled, eyelids three quarters closed. Silence enveloped her as she focused on her breathing. Whenever motionless, Louisa would get a brief reprieve, like someone had paused the movie at just the right time.
And breathe…our brains can become stuck, like a broken record.
In the space behind her eyes, a stream of consciousness resurfaced, the memory from when she and Magnus had first started dating…
Threadbare canopies above, rustling, swooshing, dancing in the fading winter hue as she’d walked hand-in-hand with her new fella, Magnus. Teddy’s dad was long gone — he’d never wanted kids in the first place. Louisa didn’t want Ted growing up on his own, maybe Magnus could end up being the one? The heron soared up from its hidden position by the lake, casting a shadow across the water, transfixing them as Teddy threw some cheese sandwich crusts to the geese.
She’d missed these early relationship days. The tingling excitement, lost in someone’s eyes and feeling them hold her like she meant something. Kissing fervidly on an old green wooden bench that had seen better days, her head was in the clouds. Teddy waddled over to the icy water, telling them he thought kissing was a bit yukky!
The honking of the geese a few minutes later had alerted them to the blue jacket floating in amongst the reeds. Her next embrace was hauling her limp son from the water.
She creaked and groaned to her feet before peering between the thin gap in the curtains. Teddy was outside now, topless in the cul-de-sac, pointing his plastic telescope up at the shimmering stars. She watched him speed off down the street, her pulse racing, imagination out of control. He was wearing his favourite Batman pyjama trousers, broken glass glistening in the gutter under artificial lights.
Louisa opened the UPVC window to call him in, but Magnus had shuffled through from the kitchen, that daft apron with the muscles on it, around his neck. He placed his hand softly on her shoulder, so not to startle her. He whispered, “There’s nothing there, Lou. Nothing.”