Situation Vacant by Jo Derrick
Sheri checked her phone for the umpteenth time.
“There’s no point in trying her again. You won’t get a reply,” Dave said. “She always forgets to charge it.”
“I need to be able to check on Johnny. I know your mother thinks I’m pretty vacant most of the time, but I try my best.”
Dave stopped checking Facebook. “I know, love and Mum knows that, too. It’s usually pretty chaotic when she calls round to ours. She’s just looking out for us.”
Sheri wished Dave’s mum would stop treating them like kids. They were nineteen, not nine.
“I think she’s over-protective. We’ve got our act together now, haven’t we?”
“I’ve never felt as tired as this, though, not even when I was working twelve hour shifts in that warehouse.”
Dave looked into the middle-distance. There were swans in Princes Dock and The Liver Building appeared to wink in the sunshine. All seemed well with the world.
“At least your new job’s easier and you can spend more time helping me with Johnny. Thanks for taking him out yesterday. I really needed the break to catch up on the housework and his washing. I can’t believe how many changes of clothes he gets through.”
“Mum said she’s more than willing to help out with him. I think she feels a bit redundant these days.”
“Do you think she’s coping okay? It is her first time on her own with him.”
“It’ll be fine. We’re only out for the afternoon. We should make the most of it. Tell you what, why don’t we share a bottle of wine in The Caledonia?”
Before Johnny, the only thing they’d shared was a three litre bottle of cheap cider on a night.
The sun was setting when they walked back. The cityscape made them feel nostalgic and sad that they couldn’t do this more often.
“Today has been a bit of a wake-up call, hasn’t it? I felt our youth was over before. We shouldn’t have stayed out so long, though.”
“We’re only a bit late, love. Mam’ll understand. She was young herself once. I bet she’s had a great time with Johnny.”
“Yeah, I hope he didn’t give her too much trouble. Maybe he had a long afternoon nap.”
“Only because he was awake half the night!”
When they let themselves in to their two-up, two-down, Johnny was fast asleep on the sofa.
“How did it go?” was the first thing Sheri asked.
“He hasn’t touched a drop,” Dave’s mum said, holding up a full bottle.
Dave and Sheri exchanged a look of disbelief.
Sheri’s dad had fallen off the wagon again recently, but Dave was a good sort and didn’t mind when she suggested he stayed at theirs for a while.
But he’d have to go soon. Having to listen to the Sex Pistols full blast at was too much and there was a situation vacant in the Mother Department, which Sheri was determined to fill.