'Coconut Oil for Frying' by Shelley Sclater

‘Don’t do that please,’ the mother said.
The girl was scratching some sign into the pebbles with a rolled umbrella. 
I thought how much things have changed. My mother would never have said that ‘please.’ Like she’d never have used coconut oil for frying. 
That ‘please’, I suppose, is supposed to make all the difference between telling and asking. Are children fooled by the illusion they have a choice? Or perhaps the ‘please’ was meant for me, for my ears only. In which case I am not duped either. 
I continue on my way. Moments later the girl with folded umbrella comes running back. She rushes past me. She runs across the tulipped lawn and into the trees. 
Now here comes the dark eyed mother. She comes striding by, sticking to the gravelly path. She’s carrying her own umbrella. She doesn’t know which way the girl’s gone, and she’s not going to ask. 
I head to the cafe thinking I might find mother and daughter or one or the other, and I'm thinking about how girls shouldn’t listen to their mothers for fear of repeating their mistakes or turning out not like themselves. If I see that girl again, I’ll warn her.
The rain’s drooped the daffodils onto the bark chip path. The sun’s out in patches. And this the place I once saw a goldcrest, only the second goldcrest I ever saw. 
Then, here they are, mother and daughter, up ahead, coming round by the shrubbery, the mother carrying two umbrellas, the kid up front, kicking at the gravel.


FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015. In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories? More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

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