Mum, promise you won’t be angry?”
My six least favourite words. Youngest bounces into the room, back from her travels and has news.
“Promise,” I lie, as usual, stomach plummeting.
“What have you done?”
“Better not be another piercing,” I say.
“Ha! No.” She laughs again.
“Aw no, not a tattoo,” I say, “you’re too young. If you’ve…”
“Nope! Not a tattoo.”
“Ok.” I feel the rage subsiding a little, take a deep breath and manage calm… “What is it then?”
She whips her hands out from behind her back and waves her fingers at me.
Pink sugar almonds alternate with ovals of glitter on the ends of her fingers.
“Aren’t they amazing?” she says.
“Wow. Yes, they really are.”
“Don’t you just love them?”
“Yes, I do. They’re gorgeous,” I say. Then I remember.
“You’ve got exams next week! What were you thinking? You won’t be able to write!”
“But I’ve waited sooooo long to do this. Long enough,” she says.
“They’ll have to come off.”
“No! I can write with them. I’ve had them before.”
She grabs a pen and I dictate Lord of the Flies quotes etc so we see if she can master a pen.
She can, dammit.
“Told you. Anyway they’re very stuck on and my first exam is tomorrow, so it’s too late,” she says and drops the pen.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. See? Told you. You can’t,” I say, victorious.
Or am I? Sometimes you win the battle but you’ve already lost the war.