Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Sixty
“So you own a house now?” I’ve been trying to tell Sash about the place in Spain. I drank lots of wine with Monty and some of the words are coming out wrong.
“Well, yeah, me and nan own a house I guess. I don’t know if it’s a nice house though, it might be smelly.”
“Did your dad smell then?”
“No darling, I mean, I don’t think so. I just mean that it has been empty for a while.” My dad did have a smell. I hadn’t realised that I could recall it till Sash said that. Like Jimmy smells of Golden Virginia, my dad smelled of beer and Imperial Leather soap.
“So why would it smell? Does being empty make it smell?”
“No, it just means that it won’t have been cleaned for a while and maybe all the windows will be closed.”
“Well, that’s ok, you like cleaning don’t you mum?” I must admit that getting my hands on a grimy house is pretty appealing. I have a fantasy based on the old Flash adverts where a black and white checkerboard floor is covered in filth and the Flash filled spongy mop cuts through it. Mmmm.
“Yes darling, I’m sure we can clear it up.” Sash is excited, she is bouncing, her cheeks are red, I fear she might burst.
“So when can we go there?”
“I’m not sure, it depends on all the legal stuff, I don’t really know how it all works.” She turns her bottom lip outwards.
“I wanna go now!” Despite all her 11 year old wisdom and amazing intelligence, I sometimes forget that she is a little girl. So often I am the little girl and she is the grown up that it’s all a bit of a grey area.
“Well, hopefully later in the summer Sash.”
“Are we going to Croatia with Jimmy too?”
“I don’t think we can do both Sash, you know, money and all that.” She casts her eyes down like I’ve just told her that she can never use her phone again.
“Something good happened today Sash.” She looks back up, her face expectant, lit up once more.
“I sold a painting at work.” She smiles and hugs me but I can tell she is a little disappointed. She did sell 4 herself after all.
“So that’s a bit of extra money, right?” I have decided that we must book the Croatia holiday and worry about Spain another day. I can see myself dithering and then it being too late to do either. Fuck that. I pick up my phone ‘Jimmy boy, can we book those flights for Croatia please? xx’
Jimmy came round a few minutes after I texted him. He’s now bent over the laptop. The computer looks like a toy one in his hands. I’ve ordered a curry to be delivered as a celebration of my first official individual sale. I told Jimmy that we were ordering in and that he should come over and he still brought his own naan. I think he just hears the word curry and goes on auto-pilot to the shop. I stand looking over his shoulder, squinting at the screen. I think I need glasses but I am way too scared to get an eye test. Ditto the dentist. Fuck all that expensive scary shit.
“How’s it going? He sits up slightly.
“Yeah, good. I’ve found a flight to Split and one back from Dubrovnik, so we can like go through the islands in a circle, you know?” I’m not sure if he’s actually asking me if I know what a circle is, so I just nod anyway.
“So shall I book them?”
“Let me get Sash in. Sash!” I call her and she comes scampering from her room. It normally takes at least 3 calls to get her to move but she senses something is going on.
“Sash, we’re going to book the Croatia trip but that probably means we can’t go to Spain too, ok?”
“Ok mum, I guess. I do really want to go to those islands, they look so pretty.” I squeeze Jimmy’s shoulder.
“Go get em tiger.” He taps away at the keyboard and there is a knock at the door, which had better be the curry. I put the bags on the table and go fetch some plates. When I return, Sash is sat on Jimmy’s lap, his arms either side of her as he types. My first reaction is the typical mum one, to tell her to get off and let Jimmy concentrate. But, you know, they look so goddamn cute together.