I knew she was going out, before I even opened the kitchen door I could smell of her perfume, some foul concoction called "Charlie". To say it was a floral scent would be an understatement, liquid potpourri would be a more accurate description, in fact a bottle of that stuff was the perfect thing to have stationed on the cistern the morning after Monday madness at South of the Border. A feeling of simultaneous dryness and congestion at the back of my throat warned me to take a puff of my inhaler before I broke into a fit of coughs, too bad it was still on my bedside locker forcing me to retreat back up the stairs wheezing and spluttering as I went. Dry heaving and eyes streaming from the burning itch in my throat, I burst in my room, stumbling over the clothes I dumped on the floor the night before. "Damn it" I choked between back wrenching coughs, as I lurched forward grabbing the edge of my desk to steady myself. Turning to my locker, I seized my inhaler and jammed it into my mouth sucking hard as I thumbed the trigger once then twice feeling the fine mist enter and sooth my lungs. I lay back on the bed as my breathing became easier, breakfast would have to wait until after she'd gone, and then maybe after that I could make sure that perfume of her's got "lost" somehow before it killed me.
I could hear her car keys, and the 20 others she had on her keying, jangle as she got ready to head out the door, "I suppose I should say goodbye" I muttered sitting up and remembering to grab my inhaler. I met her at the foot of the stairs as she was making her way past to the door. She was dressed well, wearing a white jacket and navy pants. "Where are you going all dressed up?" I asked "Oh hi Elvira" she beamed "I'm going to meet your auntie Lyla, she's come up on the train to get her Christmas shopping out of the way" "So you wont be home till late?" I asked "Probably" She replied with a suspicious glance, "Then can I have money to get a take away for dinner this evening please Mom?", there was very few things I could cook and I didn't fancy having grilled cheese or an omelette. After a thoughtful pause she said "No, it's your Dad's day off today he'll cook you something" quite matter-of-factly, raising my hopes and dashing them in the same instant. The moment the door clicked shut I launched into a triad of cursing under my breath and thumped my thigh hard enough to make me cut off mid rant to yelp in pain. Dad was a practical man in many respects and for him cooking was no different, all his meals were straightforward and simple, and despite knowing how too cook more things than I did, I was still the better cook! Dad was the only person alive who could make a scrambled egg tasted like it was made from boiled erasers. The best way to eat Dad's food was to load your fork tilt your head back and tip the food down your throat, with any luck you'd neither taste nor choke on it. I had become quite adept at this method of eating and could eat faster this way than I could normally, unfortunately Dad took it as a testament to his culinary skills and would promptly fill my plate with a second helping. Between Mom trying to gas me in the morning and the prospect of Dad poisoning me in the evening, this sure was going to be a "great" day.