treacle nights

One night the two of us decided to stay in the woods and watch the animals.

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Copyright © 2008, Michael M Wayman

I have a friend who I play with a lot. I don't really like him that much, but I did like his mother.

She mothers him, she gives him lots of money, she cooks nice meals for him, she buys him clothes, she buys him toys, she is good to him. Too good to him, he doesn't deserve it.

He calls her Mummie, I call her Mummie. Mummie doesn't mother me, but she is kind to me, sometimes I get something good to eat too, she talks to me. And that is why I often go to his house to play with him, because Mummie is there.

One night the two of us decided to stay in the woods and watch the animals. Yes, it was scary, no, we didn't see many animals, yes, it was cold, too cold, no, none of my brothers or sisters asked where I had been, yes, Mummie was very upset.

I stayed away from my friend's house for weeks, finally I went to visit but he was not there. He would be back in an hour or two, I could help Mummie in the house. This seemed like a good idea. Mummie was kind to me as usual, no word about the night in the woods. We folded bed sheets together, I chopped wood, we rearranged the furniture together, I repaired a few things. The phone rang, he would be back in an hour or two. Mummie cooked a nice lunch for me.

Surprisingly she spoke nothing of her beloved son. No, she had always wanted a daughter. Mummie told me about the daughter that she had always wanted and she did this for hours. Mummie cooked another nice meal for me.

I left very late – there was something very funny in my mind.

I visited my friend's house next day, but he wasn't there. Mummie told me that he had joined the navy and would not be back for five or six years. I did and could not believe this, but I said nothing. Mummie did not talk about him ever again and I didn't either, perhaps she had buried him in the garden.

I helped Mummie in the house, Mummie cooked a nice lunch for me, I helped Mummie in the house, Mummie cooked another nice meal for me, day after day after year.

Mummie was always kind to me, but she did not mother me, this was OK. She gave me pocket money, I had my own room. I tried to be kind to Mummie too – it only seemed fair.

It was her birthday – I had to do something nice for her. I had a present for her, and I was going to make breakfast for her on a tray to have in bed. What else? What did she want? I dressed up in some of her clothes, made breakfast, put it on a tray with the present, knocked on her bedroom door, wrapped my arms round her and gave her a big kiss.

As Big Daughter I got mothered. I liked being mothered. Mummie bought me nice clothes, pretty clothes. I liked being Big Daughter. Mummie liked Big Daughter. She was happy, I was happy, especially as I had dropped school.

It was fun being Big Daughter, I flirted with boys, did I have fun. I flirted with my older brothers when I met them in the town and giggled with my older sisters. Not that any of them recognised me. When had they last seen me?

Mummie said that I should do something. What? I started some courses at the local college, I could learn something perhaps.

One day in town I felt a hand slip into mine. I've missed you.

I took Little Sister to an Arts and Crafts shop and bought her paints and brushes and all that she wanted. I used all of my pocket money that I had been saving for weeks. We had so much to talk about.

Mummie was pleased, two daughters in the house, though only I got mothered, Little Sister didn't need that.

I have been thinking about it for weeks. When I met you I decided. You go to college and I'm going too, I'm going to art college, I start on Monday.

Yes, Little Sister could really paint. Perhaps at art college she could do what she really wanted to do.

Yes, Little Sister had a great time doing art. I got certificates for my courses, but Little Sister was having fun.

This is Dave. Dave is my boyfriend. Dave wants to meet you. I told him that we are not normal, but he still wants to meet you. This is Mummie – Dave kissed Mummie. This is Big Daughter – Dave kissed me. Dave kissed Little Sister – Mummie and me clapped our hands. Mummie cooked a super dinner for the four of us – the family was getting bigger.

Little Sister plonked Dave down in the middle of the small sofa. You sit there, she said and pushed me down next to Dave. It was a squeeze and Dave tried to move away from me, but no chance, Little Sister sat down on the other side of Dave. Dave started:

I don't know how to say this. I like Amy a lot. I love Amy and Amy loves me. Amy says that you have something to tell me. I think I know what it is. I don't know how to say this, but...

I like Dave a lot, more than a lot. I love Dave and Dave loves me. Dave calls me Amy, it was the first name that I thought of when I was filling in the forms for the art college. But what do I want you to tell Dave? Oh, how do I say it? Why must Dave wait for me? Why am I not ready for him?

I took a deep breath and gained five years in age – the remains of my childhood that I was hanging on to with my little finger fell from my grasp.

Little Sister, Amy, is called Little Sister, not because she is small, though you may think that. No, not small but young. Little Sister is very young. Little Sister is twelve years old.

Dave took a deep breath.

You think that Little Sister is eighteen years old but rather small. No, Little Sister is twelve years old but with the mind of an eighteen-year-old. Dave, you must wait for Amy, give her time, or go and find another.

Dave put his arms round Amy and said that he wanted to be with Amy for the rest of their lives, forever young. I stood up and put my arms around Mummie.

The four of us were very happy, Dave and Amy at art college, I had a job, and Mummie cared for all of us – she was so important.

As a consultant I helped big companies, small companies, ordinary people, odd people, anybody. I discovered a wonderful trick, I could not only play the wise uncle to my clients but also the helpful aunt. Every client got visited by two people – nobody noticed or said anything. It paid good money.

One morning I was leaving early to visit a client and I saw Dave asleep on the sofa and Amy on the armchair. I smiled to myself.

As I said, the four of us were very happy. One day after a lovely meal that Mummie had prepared Amy said:

Why don't you and Mummie get married and have children?

I put my arms round Mummie and asked, Mummie Dear, will you marry me?

Mummie and me got married and had a girl and a boy. We were both very happy and still are.