shall I put your coffee?
beside the bed, a mug of coffee in one hand, tea
in another, scanning the crowded top of the
bedside cabinet for a mug shaped space. An arm
snaked out from beneath the duvet and swept a
book, a clock, a phone and a pair of earrings
onto the floor. There, said a sleepy
forgetting which was tea and which was coffee he
sniffed one mug only to find that the milk was
off. She wouldnt wake up to drink it anyway
so he walked round the bed, climbed in to his
side and plumped up the pillows to enjoy 10
minutes of peace.
girls, Kate, 3 and Rose, 6 were giving the dolls
girls up? asked his wife.
theyre downstairs making breakfast for
their toys. I lined up a whole armful beside the
sofa so it should give us a bit of peace.
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than
there was a scream from downstairs.
theres a poo on the carpet!
take Kates nappy off? asked his wife,
from her nest.
did because it was drenched and down round her
knees, he said. They both lay in
silence willing the other to get up to find the
kitchen roll and the carpet cleaner.
didnt do it, they heard Kate, the 3
year old say to her older sister.
wasnt me, replied Rose, so grown up
and certain of her place in the world.
He looked at
the resting form of his wife. Ill be
down in a minute, he called down stairs,
Im just finishing off my tea.
broke the all too brief silence, Dad,
Even his wife
moved at that. She brushed the duvet from off her
face and stared at him with a what are you
waiting for expression.
He hopped out
of bed and ran down stairs to be met by the sight
of his two daughters huddled together on the sofa
pointing in horror to a small poo coloured object
on the floor which, as he approached, jumped.
a baby frog, he said, it must have
come in the backdoor. He gently cupped his
hand over it, picked it up, opened the back door
and tiptoed on his bare feet across the concrete
to deposit the baby frog on the grass. Turning
round he saw Kate standing at the back door.
he said, all better now.
Kate looked at
him with a solemn face. I told you it
didnt come out of my bottom, she said.