Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pink sandals and miniature trains

Strands of hair attached themselves to my lip gloss, leaving faint and sticky coral lines on my cheek as I tried to whip them away.

The children’s red plastic plates flew off the table, sending pink sandals in pursuit.

Great grandmas looked on with curiosity, pride, regrets… who knows? Grandmothers are notoriously hard to read.

The cake was in the shape of a train - fat and moist and with one of its chocolate biscuit wheels dropping off - fatigued, like the mother who’d stayed up ‘til 2am baking it.

Baby Brown Eyes darted around the table offering up shares of her cheezels and cupcakes. Her white dress was just like a bride’s. She told me so.

At pass-the-parcel time, everyone wins a prize. Those who come last in the process look at me balefully when the music keeps playing, the parcel moving on to other hands. Is this just one of many disappointments in their young lives? Will coming last be a regular occurrence for them?

The miniature steam train is coming into view. The driver wears overalls and a peak cap – good for keeping his flowing locks in place … if he still had any. Great grandma gets her leg over as she calls it, crouching to sit on the train with her 60-year-old baby perched in front of her. She waves like all the others as she passes. We’re all wearing pink sandals deep down.


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