Chapter 2

Mary takes a minute crouching down staring at the chocolate banana cake in the middle of the gas oven.  She stands up with a mother’s eye loving her most independent middle child.

 

“That’s the fat girl behind the counter. Your dad goes there.”

 

“Jesus Mum.  Be nice,” says Stephen just a little bit rattled.  His mother has always been the protective, invasive one in any friendship. That covers both boys and girls since his 9th birthday. Mary makes it her business to be involved in any relationship his siblings are having.

Helen smiles like a true loyal sister does towards a favourite brother.  The middle child and adopted sister have always had a close bond.

The fact he’ll be an uncle has brought them even closer.

Stephen is looking forward to that role.  Family bonds are close to his heart and head.  Dennis reminds everyone in the family about this constantly. Helen tilts her head to the right which Stephen sees as a chance to talk to her out of Mary’s range.

 

They walk into the lounge which has the FM radio on the local classic rock station providing back ground cover. Helen puts both of her hands on Stephen’s shoulders looking into his fine sunbeaten face and excited eyes.

“Take no notice of what she says,” she says squeezing his upper half to her own knowing how sensitive boys can be.

“She cares deeply about you. What you heard is the first thing that comes out of her mouth.”

Stephen looks at her knowing what she’s saying is right.

“Thanks sis,’ he says kissing her on the right cheek.

“I needed that.”

“Just get on with your day,” says Helen. “Stay in the moment.”

 

Stephen is never forgetful but today needs to go back to the building depot to pick up some more product.  He is more annoyed with himself than anyone else.  Anger is not a regular emotion that runs through his mind and body.  If he is mad it is only ever with what he is doing on a building site or on the mountain bike course. 

 

Amanda is having a forgetful day.  She left her lunch on the roof of the car when she left home.  It slid off at the first corner and landed in the wet muddy puddle in the gutter.

 

Now she was mad but hungry. Call that mungry

 

Stephen walks in with his own confident swagger. Amanda stops being mungry while brushing herself down. She fancies the triplets like she fancies the dad.

 

“Amanda,” says Stephen flicking his eyes up to the ceiling in a friendly way.

 

“Stephen,” Amanda comes back doing nothing but the same eye movement.

 

“My 30th birthday is on the same day as your dad’s 50th,” offers up Amanda.

 

“That sounds like a really Good Friday then,” says Stephen.

“Why don’t you come?"

 

Amanda stops for one second, a bit flushed.

 

“Well I’m not doing anything else ...”