I come in from the dog walk, that no teenager wanted to come on. They were too busy being in bed, screens lighting up their faces, still creased from sleep. Catching up on the latest news, from their friends who are posting from their beds. Taking photos of nothingness to keep up their streak on Snapchat. Why are you taking a photo of your bedside table? I ask, stupidly. Don’t worry about it, Mum comes the impatient reply. So I don’t. It is of little concern to me when there are bigger, more important worries than pointless photos. I am simply intrigued and want an insight into this other world. A world in which I don’t want to exist, other than as a pain in the arse.
So that very same pain in the arse returns from the dog walk. I enter the kitchen that I had left an hour ago issuing strict instructions on how I wanted to find it on my return. Can I have bacon for breakfast, Mum? If you wipe the hob down afterwards. Make sure you wash up, wipe the table, sweep away the crumbs. The pain in the arse drones on to deaf ears, but continues undeterred. It makes me feel better. It makes me feel as if I might be achieving something by giving orders. That maybe, just maybe, someone will be listening. One out of four? Perhaps there is a chance that one out of four may hear a small part of what I am saying and fulfill my expectations.
I scan the kitchen on entering. It’s not so bad that I can rant, it’s not good enough that I can’t comment loudly. So I grab the dishcloth and shout my way around the work tops. Moan a little over the splashing washing up water and grumble loudly about the state of the floor.
I shout a little louder. No response. I’m muttering to myself, how I imagine Old Mother Hubbard would have done, when she went to her cupboard and found it bare.
Partner comes in and asks who I am talking to. The girls, I reply. They didn’t leave the kitchen to my standards.
They’re all out, he says. You’re talking to yourself.
Always, I thought to myself. Regardless of whether they are in or out, I feel as if I’m always talking to myself…myself and the dogs.