Later in the year I shall be publishing my (quite often humorous) memoir ‘Waiting in the Wings’, which deals with two subjects; the sometimes fraught relationship I have had with my mother Dot over the years, and the perils of ageing. The book is so new that it hasn’t even got a cover yet, but I thought I’d give you a little taster and share Chapter 16 with you.
Chapter 16 of ‘Waiting in the Wings’, by Stevie Turner. Copyright Stevie Turner 2016.
What teenager doesn’t like to stay in bed all morning at weekends and surface around mid-day? I am no exception to this rule, but unfortunately Dot always makes sure that I never remain in bed past 8 o’clock on a Saturday or a Sunday.
“Come on, get up; I want to make the bed.”
Dot’s preference for everything in the house to be neat and tidy includes me. After 07:30 passes I can sense her agitation as she constantly checks if I am up or not. I know that by 8 o’clock she would have lost any patience that she might have had.
“I’ll make the bed when I get up.” I mumble from beneath the covers.
“No; I need to tidy the bed now.” Dot pulls off the eiderdown. “Your breakfast is ready.”
It is the normal routine every weekend. Dot is a light sleeper and an early riser, and living with my mother as I do it is impossible for me to be anything else but the same.
Reluctantly I force myself out of bed and head for the bathroom, knowing full well what Dot’s parting shot will be before I close the door.
“Don’t sit on the toilet seat; I’ve just polished it.”
Obediently I lift the toilet seat, which is shiny and slippery with polish. I have become so used to sitting on the under-seat of the toilet that to actually sit on the seat itself feels alien and uncomfortable to me. After cleaning my teeth I leave the top of the toothpaste off, do not wipe around the sink and taps as Dot does every time she washes her hands, and throw any dirty laundry into the basket from a distance, thereby making sure that some of it fails to hit the target.
When it is time to get dressed I pick through the pile of clothes at the bottom of my wardrobe which have fallen onto the floor. This sartorial mountain is a constant source of irritation to my mother, who berates me several times a day to hang them up properly. I actually prefer my dresses, tops and trousers to be in a big pile as they are more accessible, and rage against the fact that my mother’s clothes are neatly hung in seasonal and colour co-ordinated magnificence in one of four huge wardrobes. I am sick of having to be tidy, and am in chronic rebellion of Dot’s OCD behaviour when it comes to tidiness and cleanliness.
The straw that breaks the camel’s back does not take long in arriving. As I sit slouched in my creased tee-shirt and trousers watching ‘The Partridge Family’, Dot nips backwards and forwards in front of me, waving a duster and a can of polish at anything that stands still long enough. The constant cleaning and polishing drives me to distraction.
“I’m watching David Cassidy!” I shout. “Can’t you do that later?”
“The shelves are dusty.” Dot begins to noisily take all the ornaments off the shelves in front of me. “I won’t be long.”
Huffing, I sit on the floor with my nose almost pressed up against the TV screen whilst my mother polishes behind me with all her might. When the hoover is switched on and drowns out ‘I Think I Love You’, as far as I’m concerned it’s the last straw. I stand up and stomp off to my room. Dot gives me a passing glare.
“Don’t sit on the bed and mess it up!”
I slam my bedroom door, kick the pile of clothes at the bottom of my wardrobe so that they spill out onto the carpet, plonk myself on the bed and leave a body imprint, and curse my mother to hell and back.
“Do you remember the state of my bedroom when I was a teenager?” I laugh and look around Dot’s living room. Not an item of furniture is out of place.
“Your dad always told me to just shut the door on it, but I couldn’t.” Dot sighs. “You were just like your grandmother. Every cupboard was ‘pleased to meet you’.”
“What’s one of those?” I chuckle.
“Where everything falls out when you open the door.”
“I’ve still got those now.” I laugh. “And it’s all your fault for being so tidy.”
“I was rebelling against my own mother’s untidiness.” Dot shrugs. “It seems each generation does the complete opposite to the one before.”
“I should have lived with Nan, then.” I smile at my mother. “We always did get on well.”
“You’d have both disappeared in your own filth eventually.”
“No we wouldn’t.” I shake my head. “You would have tidied everything away and carried on looking until you found us underneath a pile of rubbish.”
“Talking about rubbish.” Dot points to a speck on the carpet. “Can you pick that up and put it in the bin?”
If you are interested in the book, please sign up to my new mailing list (the form should pop up on WordPress. If not, you can find it on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk ) and I will inform you by email when it is available on pre-order. Thank you (and thanks Clive for signing up already!).