Aunt Em

Maria picked up her new Wizard of Oz script and said in a Kansas drawl, “That’s enough Dorothy! Toto will have to go!”

I groaned and ran a hand over my face, like a long-suffering parent whose child had just pushed another penny up his nose.

“This is what my summer is going to consist of, isn’t it?” I asked defeatedly. “Being trapped in a house with you parading up and down sounding like Sookie Stackhouse for three months?”

Maria flashed me her best fake Hollywood smile (eyes bulging excitedly, mouth open slightly too wide) and said, still retaining her southern accent, “Y’all pipe down now and fetch me a little sugar!”

Oh Dorothy, we all wish we had your unfailing optimism and red shoes

Maria has finally finished her exams, something the entire family has been looking forward to since she first lay upside down on our attic futon over four months ago and cried out, “Revision was created only to punish children!” She has also landed the role of Aunt Em in her school production, the preparation for which I was currently not relishing.

Last Sunday it was warm enough to eat outside, so we sat drinking lemonade and eating roast chicken while Mum clapped her hands at one of the free-range guinea pigs shouting, “Stop eating my lupins!” while the other sat gnawing ineffectually at the garden table legs.

Nan was over for dinner and told us a story about her friend, Harry.

“We were all at this party one night and Harry starts dancing with the most ugly woman I have ever seen in my life.”

“Nanny!” Maria cried.

“She was the most miserable looking thing, she was,” Nan continued, ignoring her. “Nothing much to look at at all. So, Harry spends the entire night dancing with her and buying her drinks. I finally caught him long enough to say, “Harry what on earth are you dancing with her for?” He replied, “With a face like that, she must be good at something!””

Mum choked on her drink.

“And her husband was from Sardy Arabia, you know,” Nan added inconsequentially.

“Sardy!” I shrieked and we laughed so much our faces ached.

*

The past week I have applied for over seven jobs, after realising that there was only so much cake you can buy with a fiver. I excitedly sent a CV to the zoo under the impression that if I got the job, I could wander around in the sunshine, followed by enchanted zebras and exotic birds. That was until I remembered I didn’t live in Walt Disney’s imagination and would most probably be shoveling poo and cleaning toilets.

I also had an interview at Boots where I was asked to give out hand cream, talk to ‘unconfident’ customers and tidy shelves. I actually had quite a nice time after I got over the fact I had never had a formal interview before (and after I had exchanged a few smiles with the cute boy working at the counter).

I’ve just booked tickets back to Sheffield to move into the new house and have a little holiday with Maria. Mum said, “I expect you’ll get a job offer now you’re going away.”

I really hope so. I have unrealistic hopes for the decoration of my new room. The engraved trinket boxes aren’t going to buy themselves.

We all know practicality is not important.

Images courtesy of Google

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