No one has come.
"Diiiiinnnneeeer!" I call again, while hanging onto the edge of the kitchen door and shouting in the direction of the stairs. Then I turn back to survey the table. What have I forgotten?
I fill the water jug from the tap, hollering again as I do so:
"I said, it's diiinnneeerrr!"
I grab glasses, one, two, three, four... five. Skidding them onto the table, one next to each plate.
"Dinner time! Now! I've called you three times!"
I have the hot tap running as well, just for good measure. I add a quick squirt of Fairy. I grab more dirty things from where they're scattered around the hob and throw them into the sink. I turn off the tap.
"It's getting cold!"
I may as well do a bit of this clearing up while I'm waiting...
A shove a couple of things in the dishwasher, just willy-nilly, not how husband likes it, but he's not here. Ha!
Not the non-stick pans, though, because it ruins the coating...
Still no one comes.
I put things away: the milk, bag of flour, the cheese. I close the bin lid to make the kitchen look nicer.
Still they haven't come.
"It's getting cold!"
A child arrives. "Oh no!" he says.
Then the next: "Not this again!"
Then the third: "I hate this!"
I stand, deflated, hands on filthy-apron-hips.
I have chopped, simmered, boiled, strained, fried, roasted and baked.
I have walked. Entire marathons of walking.
Across the kitchen floor from fridge to hob to bin to sink and back again.
Before that I have racked my poor brain dry, before driving/walking/clicking the mouse.
Usually I have traipsed. Aisle upon aisle of traipsing.
More than all of this I have chosen.
Extra/essential/finest/three for two/with a bottle of wine/complimentary/more value family pack/25% off/deal.
I have unloaded, paid, packed, hauled, and tried to find somewhere for it all to go.
In the past ten days I calculate that I have cooked -
Marinated, roast lamb with dauphinoise potatoes,
Lamb stir fry (and/or chicken) with noodles, Spaghetti bolognese,
Lasagne (made from leftover spaghetti bolognese),
Baked potatoes with cheese, salad and cabbage and bacon,
Beef casserole with green beans and mash,
Chicken pie with peas and mash,
Butternut squash and bulgur wheat stew
Leak and mushroom and bacon pasta bake
Marinated spicy chicken thighs with olives and brown rice,
Chickpea curry with beetroot and tomatoes and couscous,
Roast chicken with all the trimmings,
Chicken and mushroom risotto.
All by hand. From scratch. None of it Findus. Not one bit of it horse.
"Not this again!" they say.
I want to kill them.
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