Writers Abroad Magazine 6 May 2017 - Page 5

WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE: THE THIRD SPACE PUSHING HER BUTTONS BY CRILLY O’NEIL ‘This is the second time, Charlie.’ Mia sucked the length of cotton and pushed it through the needle. Looking at her six-year old son she said firmly, ‘If you continue to twist the buttons off, you’ll sew them on next time.’ ‘Shan’t!’ Charlie said as he raced out of the kitchen hoping his mother didn’t hear. Besides, there were far more important things to do than sew stupid buttons onto his school shirt. Anyway, he wore a jumper so no-one could tell if the sleeve buttons were there or not. ‘Sports Captain?’ Mia looked up. Charlie picked at a scab on his arm and glared at his mother. ‘For God’s sake, I’m sixteen and can’t be wearing this crappy old blazer if I get Sports Captain.’ He tugged at the ripped pocket, ripping it further. ‘It’s being announced today, Ma, so you’ll have to buy me one of those blue blazers with the flash gold buttons.’ Mia smiled and swallowed hard. Her teenage son had no idea about money and where it came from and sports blazers were expensive. Still, she could probably take in some more washing and Mrs Robinson, the Mayor’s wife, had mentioned giving her some ironing. For a moment she stared at her red-raw hands, the skin flaking, the ragged nails and the ever-permanent smell of bleach on her skin. One day, she hoped, things would be different. When Charlie came home that night, he hurled his school bag through the front door causing it to skid along the hall floor. His heavy footsteps stamping on the stairs and the slamming of the bedroom door told Mia all she needed to know. No need for extra washing. ‘You look nice.’ Mia studied her twenty-one year old son. ‘Very smart. Off for a job interview all dressed up like that?’ Charlie ran his finger around the collar of his shirt and sighed. ‘No interview, and I’m not all dressed up, it just a button-down shirt, Ma, they’re all the go.’ ‘Well, I wish you were going for an interview. Time you got a job. I can’t support you forever.’ ‘Nag, nag! It’s all you ever do. Matter of fact, I’m going out with some chick. Spendin’ the day we are, round her place, meeting her folk and all that. Lend me a tenner, mum?’ ‘My Charlie’s getting married on Saturday,’ Mia told the woman in the haberdashery store. ‘He’s thirty now, time he settled down.’ 4 | MAY 2017