Jez & Maggsy – Minding Margot

On Saturday mornings, sometimes, when her mother was at her class, Margot would spend time with her aunty and uncle. It was only for a few hours, and her mum would always pick her up not long after lunch and take her home, and they would make gingerbread men or cupcakes or something else that filled the kitchen with delicious smells and tasted even better when it cooled and you were finally allowed to eat it.

Until her mum came to collect her, Margot would hang out with her aunty and uncle. That’s what they said: “hang out”. Margot’s mum never said that. She said they minded the girl for her. It was a favour and they were happy to do it, for Margot’s mother had done many favours for them over the years.

The first few times the three of them hung out the adults took her to the café, because it was the sort of thing they liked doing, and they probably would have been doing that anyway on a Saturday morning, and they bought the little girl breakfast. Breakfast all day was considered to be a very special thing by Margot’s aunty and uncle and they didn’t notice that the child wasn’t nearly as impressed as their friends usually were when they were taken to Planet Grease for a hearty meal. There was planning in this activity, although it seemed like they just reflexively did whatever they wanted to do and expected the girl to enjoy that activity too. The café had so many options, options within options, on the menu, that it seemed like Margot couldn’t fail to find something she liked. Just the bread options were impressive – the sourdough was excellent, but you could also have about six more types of bread, if you wanted it at all. If you wanted gluten free, that was fine, and if you wanted vegetarian, or vegan, that was fine too. It was a very loose definition of breakfast, and the name Planet Grease was intended to be ironic, as it was possible to eat very healthily indeed.

But Margot didn’t have a good time and she barely touched her vegetable breakfast omelette. She sucked strawberry milkshake hard through her straw, and then seemed to recall that she wasn’t really allowed such nutritional extravagances, and took only a few more sips from the drink while the two adults were eating, out of a sense of decorum. Her mother had instilled in her rather rigid ideas about good manners and Margot knew that some behaviour was priceless.

Other activities were tried when the café failed so abjectly. They went to the park and threw a Frisbee, which sounds like fun, but it didn’t work very well when the child in the game can’t catch and the adults can’t throw. Margot was scared of getting hit in the head and she sat on a bench under a tree to get herself out of danger. Her aunty and uncle didn’t really want to go to the park either. They didn’t know what little girls like to do – Margot was only four – but they thought they ought to be doing something wholesome and healthy, instead of what they would normally be doing on a Saturday morning, which was smoking and reading the paper and drinking coffee. It had always seemed obscene to the pair of them to get dressed before about three in the afternoon on Saturday and if they were feeling energetic they would play Xbox games, or her uncle would, it was mostly him, but only if they were feeling energetic which wasn’t often. The Xbox was usually a late night entertainment to accompany the sorts of things adults do which enable them to stay up all night.

Margot knew nothing about that, but she liked playing games, and when one Saturday her aunt and uncle took her back to their place she had the best time she’d ever had with them. She sat in front of the TV and played while her aunty and uncle smoked and drank coffee and read the paper and played their music. Margot didn’t mind, for she was having fun and she was enjoying her time with her aunty Maggsy and uncle Jez, who weren’t really her aunty and uncle, just friends of her mum, and none of that really mattered to a little girl with her mind somewhere else.

Published in: on February 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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