Claire woke before the alarm beeped and remembered to switch it off. The shower was neither hot nor lukewarm; somewhere in between, exactly to her liking. Her clothes were unruffled and her shoes polished. She walked towards the kitchen with expectancy that something had to change; something had to go wrong and spoil this perfect start to the day.
No, not just yet, her thoughts were quelled. She was taken aback by Chris, who had let her porridge cool enough to dollop honey on without it turning to a fast running sap. He poured her coffee and kissed her. His fresh breath persuading her to inhale deeply.
‘Enjoy the rest of your day,’ he said and smiled broadly. ‘’I’m off.’
Claire watched as Chris seemed to glide across the gleaming floor tiles. He left, closing the front door gently. Claire then looked towards a rattling of dishes near the sink.
‘Good morning,’ she said.
Paul washed. ‘Hi mum,’ he said.
Carolyn dried. ‘Morning mum,’ she said.
They finished their job and Paul asked, ’can we watch the cartoons?’
‘You know the rules about school mornings.’ Claire sighed then sipped on her coffee, wondering why rules mattered.
‘But mum,’ Carolyn said. ‘We’ve made our beds, got our lunches ready, done our homework, practised the piano, let the dog out and look – when you’re finished breakfast the dishes will be done.’
This is amazing Clair thought. It’s not even Mother’s day. She glanced around the house and it really was so clean. ‘Oh, alright,’ she finally said. ‘Just this once.’