Today one of my daughter’s friends came over.
I was sitting in the warm kitchen, having a mug of tea and waiting for the ‘pain aux raisin’ baking in the oven to be ready. The warmth of the oven filled the room whilst the smell of freshly baked pâtisserie curled its way around the kitchen, gently seeping out into the hallway.
I had done the food shop, the recycling, cleaned the sink and now it was “ME” time. Peruse a catalogue and get an idea of where the trends were heading for the Winter season, see what I might already have that could be retro-ed up. Then it would be – head to the sofa with a book, and period drama on download.
So my daughter arrives home with a male friend. I see them from the kitchen window walking towards the front door. I quickly unwrap the scarf from around my head where I had tied my hair out of the way for chores. I am aware that it makes me look faintly ridiculous and do not want that to reflect on my daughter – so it is quickly wrapped round my neck in a more normal and accepted manner.
Daughter and friend enter the kitchen and put the kettle on. They are now trapped with me under socially accepted norms. They must make polite conversation until the kettle boils, and so must I, without turning any pages before me.
We appear to have a slow boiling kettle.
We converse about travel: Morocco, Canada and the Scandinavian Countries. The background to the conversation is a gradually escalating rumble from the kettle and the gentle but regular ticking of the timer. The oven timer pings and I switch it off, but the pain aux raisin remains in the oven until the ritual of tea making is complete. I only remove the pâtisserie when they have left the room.
I laugh to myself as they go – ‘freshly baked pâtisseries and fashion magazines‘, I must look like a bored middle class housewife. How looks can be deceiving. I am none of those things.
Well, maybe a little bored.
Then it hits me – a hard wall of realisation.
I have become all of these things.
When did I become my youth’s joke?