Friday, February 27, 2009

Something To Tell

Mum, I’ve got something to tell you. Chelsee wipes the wetness round the countertop. The cloth refuses more moisture, leaving a damp rash behind. Chelsee looks up furtively. The café is empty but for the newcomer. Staying, she is; so the rumours go. Why do people sit in the same seats? Habit, Chelsee guesses.

Mum, can you keep a secret from Dad? Only I’ve got something to tell you.

The dishwasher beeps. Chelsee opens it to a dragon’s breath. The crocks are still hot but she stacks them up, the clatter ripping her eardrums. Mum… listen a minute… Mum, I won’t be able to… Mum, I’ve got a problem.

She ought to tidy the tables before more people come in, change a few grubby tablecloths for clean ones, but she needs to rest. She makes a half-hearted circuit round the tables, then sits at one of them with a sigh.

The newcomer smiles at her. Louise, someone said her name was. “Quiet today, Chelsee.”

“Yes.” Chelsee rummages around for something else, something sensible to add. Mum, I have a problem. “Yes, quiet. Often is, this time of year… been lucky with the weather, like. Not much rain. Cold though.”

Chelsee’s mum comes into the café from out the back. Chelsee stands guiltily.

“Hello Carol,” says Louise. “I was just saying to Chelsee here what a blessing the weather has been.” She gives a conspiratorial smile to Chelsee.

Now, thinks Chelsee: “Mum, I’ve…”

The café door is flung open and in walks Ger, with the scent of seawater and winter air pursuing him. He’s wound up like a kid on Christmas Eve. His excitement crackles over them like static.

“Mum,” he says too loudly, “I’ve something to tell you…”





Linda Gruchy

6 comments:

Nicola Slade said...

Oooh, that's given me an idea! I'll be right back...

Sally Zigmond said...

I like this. You can really sense Chelsee's frustration and understand why she's got herself into this mess in the first place, poor kid.

Anonymous said...

I fear Chelsee is one of life's natural victims. I'm not quite sure how she's going to cope with this mess. The father's not going to be much help, is he? Rotter. Maybe Nicola Slade has some good ideas.

LG

Douglas Bruton said...

Very tidy piece. And I so want Chelsee to have her say... am shouting at Ger to shut up a minute and let Chelsee speak.

Give us the next chapter soon.

D

NICOLA MORGAN said...

Very clever how you gradually realise that her mum's not in the room, and then when she is AGHHH (agree with Douglas about wanting to shout)! Well done!

Jane Smith said...

I find this piece so very frustrating: I want Chelsee to open her mouth and say what she really wants to; and I want Ger to just shut up for a moment; his timing's awful.

A lovely piece. Very uncomfortable to read, but very cleverly written, I thought.