Must Try Harder

The commute was a nightmare. I got a seat but the man next to me made me wish I hadn’t – dreadful BO a burbling phlegm-filled sniff at every breath and he left me so little room I could only get half a buttock on the seat and had to prop myself up inelegantly with one leg thrust out halfway up the aisle. Chivalry died on the 17.42 to Sevenoaks.

I was thoroughly, unacceptably late. I arrived, sweaty, with my suit rucked up all over the place, hair plastered to my head, makeup running down to my chin. I don’t think this is what they meant when they talked about having it all; I’m struggling to cling on to any of it. The other mums don’t look like trainwrecks – well, apart from one shuffling in at the back, all panda eyes and out of breath. I wonder if she’d like to go for a stiff drink afterwards?

“Are there any problems at home?”

Jesus, not words any parent wants to hear – and especially from the sodding art teacher. I thought I’d see him first to ease myself in gently to what is probably going to be a very long evening of teacherly recrimination at my parenting (lack of).

Mr Harris produces a painting Henry has done. It’s…certainly striking, very apocalyptic and bears the words, ‘Kiss me, you are beautiful…these are truly the last days’. I think that’s from a song he had on in the car the other day. The whole thing’s a bit creepy for a 12 year old, I suppose, but actually I can’t help thinking it’s rather good!

“No, there are no problems,” I find myself saying, shakily indignant. And slightly squeaky. This elicits a condescending, disbelieving nod and I am dismissed to continue my tour of shame around the assembly hall.

Even Henry’s algebra is causing concern that I am nurturing a sociopath. English Literature is the worst report though. Apparently Henry wrote this term’s book review on ‘The Naked Lunch’. This is, says Mrs Williams, a Very Bad Thing. Well maybe, I suppose it’s got pretty adult content but isn’t it also quite precocious and advanced? Mrs W has no beef with this and, as I gather up my handbag and try to shuffle out of the wonky plastic chair with some semblance of dignity casually enquires whether I do much reading myself and have I read ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin?’

The following two tabs change content below.
Alex Jury

Alex Jury

Alex Jury is a retired cowgirl, now working as a copywriter in London. She loves working with words but misses all the lassoing.
Alex Jury

Latest posts by Alex Jury (see all)

There are no comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address