Keep Smiling!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story written for India Emerald's latest Flash Fiction challenge.

Submitted: December 31, 2017

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Submitted: December 31, 2017

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Keep Smiling!

We are outside waving, saying ‘Goodbye’ to my parents. They have stayed with us for two and a half days over Christmas. Two and a half days of getting the kids to behave in a reasonably polite way, and to actually spend more than ten minutes out of every twenty-four hours outside of their rooms.

Ben has been great. He has laughed at Dad’s jokes, placated Mom’s worries. He has restricted his TV viewing to the more family-friendly stuff, although secretly I’m sure my parents would have appreciated a little bit more ‘action’.

And me, well, I’d kind of gone back to being ‘the dutiful daughter’. I’ve looked at my house through my mom’s eyes and found my house-keeping skills rather....lacking. I’ve made the effort. And I’ve baked and cooked.....okay, some of the time I’ve cheated. Some of the time I’ve had to cheat – with the window open to ‘air out the house’ when really it’s to remove the smell of culinary disasters.

But we’ve done it! There have been no major arguments, no uncomfortable silences. I can keep smiling until they drive out of view and then I can let all the pent up tension out in a big deep breath.

Alex and Sadie are already back in their rooms, no longer feeling like they have to show their faces although they will, when hunger strikes. Ben enfolds me in a big hug. Much as it was a strain for him, he knows how under scrutiny I felt.

And we’ve got four days! Four days to be ourselves. We can let the washing up pile up, eat ready-made meals, store-bought cakes and snacks. And we can enjoy an afternoon glass of wine, can of beer, without fearing judgemental looks at the clock. If I don’t feel like getting out the vacuum cleaner for a day then I won’t.

I’ll get up late, lounge around in pyjamas until a time way past decent. We’ll let our lives drift back to normality.

Until the in-laws come for New Years Eve, and New Years Day!

And then there’ll be a return to all that tension, all the performance. The fears that somehow I am ‘not good enough’ for their son. I’ll make the effort to do things ‘right’; to be the perfect wife and mother. Of course this time there will be the added challenge with alcohol being involved. What will their attitude be towards teenage drinking?

Oh, well. Soon be all over, back to normal. I’ll get through it if I can just remember to SMILE!

 

 

(426 words).


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