I had three brilliant Mother's Day cards - two which made me cry tears of emotion, and one tears of laughter. Thanks Kids. I especially enjoyed the card with the message from Cliff Richard belting out in the restaurant.
We spent the evening having dinner at The Hunters - many photos taken and much laughter. We finally got home at ten exhausted and full of good food.
I love my family so much.
Today I need to get back into writing - but just for now, here is chapter six of Caught in the Web for those of you who may be interested:
Peter was worried.
Things hadn't been the same since Karen had started working in that place. When he thought about it, he supposed that it had all began to go wrong when she'd had that operation. He hated coming home to an empty house. Ever since he was small when his father had left. Mum said he was too young to remember. But he did. How could he not remember the shouting, the crying and that final bang of the door as his father went out for the last time? Afterwards, it was the silence that got to him more than the noise.
He’d come home from school and rather than play indoors on his own he would hang around in the Co-op where his mum worked. She never came to sports days to watch him run and hardly ever came to school plays. Peter would watch the other mothers cheering on their children.
The knot of resentment which he'd kept tight in his chest was re-ignited when he was away at University and she'd told him that she was fostering a teenage girl, an orphan. When he came home that summer, he couldn't even bring himself to look at the girl.
'You couldn't even look after me properly,' he snapped. 'How can you look after someone else's child?'
‘That’s not fair,’ she said, recoiling from his anger. ‘I’ve always done my best for you.’
‘I was never good enough though, was I? She’s a girl - is that it? You always wanted a girl and you got me.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous. You were all I wanted.’ She reached towards him but he pulled his arm away. ‘Karen hasn’t got any family. She needs a break. You’re not here much now anyway.’
‘So she’s taking my place.’
‘Of course not. Just give her a chance, please.’ She paused. ‘This will always be your home and I’ll always love you. No-one could take your place.’
Peter glared at her, knowing that she was lying.
The realisation that the girl was making his mother happy made Peter even more angry. He felt the pain of jealousy and rejection as he listened to her singing around the house and the two of them laughing together in the kitchen.
He went back to university each year infested with resentment towards both of them.
When he'd finished his degree and came home he was still feeling the same but was surprised to find that Karen was growing into a beautiful woman. Peter realised that he wanted her. He thought she'd make the perfect wife, shy, innocent, and always eager to please. He made it his business to pursue her - woo her - he showered her with gifts and flattery until she finally agreed to have him. And she had been the perfect wife - until recently.
The doorbell rang.
His mother stood on the doorstep, leaning towards him for an affectionate hug.
'I thought I'd just pop in on my way home,' she said. 'It's been a while since I've seen either of you.'
'Karen's at work, so it's only me.’
'Shall I put the kettle on then?' Margaret was already on her way to the kitchen. 'What time does she finish?'
'She won't get home until ten at least.'
Margaret looked at him and smiled. 'Oh well, I suppose that's shift work for you.’
'Bloody annoying actually,' he retorted. 'She's never here in the evenings any more.'
'There must be times when she finishes early.'
'Yes,' he said. 'Only she's tired in the evenings when she is here.'
'I don't know why she's being so stubborn,' Peter went on. 'It's not a proper job for a woman. She comes home stinking of that place.'
Margaret was making the tea. 'Got any biscuits?' she asked.
'In the cupboard above the toaster.’
Settled onto the sofa a short while later, Margaret poured the tea and handed a mug to Peter.
'Come on,' she said. 'Stop looking so miserable. Karen needed to do something a bit more challenging after all she's been through. She'll be alright. She's young and hasn't had much of a life.'
'That's not true!' Peter argued. 'She has everything she wants, whenever she wants it. All I ask is for a wife who's here for me.'
'Sometimes a woman needs to do things for herself,' Margaret pursued. 'To follow her own dream, you know?'
'I work hard to give her everything she needs,' he said. 'It's just being selfish, thinking you can follow your dreams. What about my dreams?'
'What about your dreams?'
'I just want to be a proper family, with a wife and children. No-one's interested in what I want.‘ He paused. ‘It was the same when I was little.'
'That's not true,' Margaret sighed. She sipped her tea, trying to find something to say which would ease the tension.
'What about Karen's days off?' she asked. 'She can't be working every day.'
'Of course not,' he snapped. 'She has a couple of days off every week, but they're not always at the weekends.'
'Couldn't you take time off in the week and go out for a day together?' Margaret suggested.
'That would be difficult,' Peter complained.
'Perhaps it's what you both need though,' Margaret said. 'Spend some time together doing something nice. You must have holiday time owed you.'
'I don't know.’
'Well think about it at least,' Margaret urged.
She stayed another half an hour, making small talk, asking Peter about his job and trying to ignore the uncomfortable feeling that had settled between them. Eventually she made her excuses and left, promising to drop in again later in the week.