by Jordi Kerr
Beatrice stood by the window.
Her husband worked nights, leaving the children to her care. She’d dash from the office in time to pick them up from school. Soothe the stresses the classes placed upon them, and the hurts that children inflicted upon each other – for boredom, for amusement, for a place of dominance in the pack. Once home she’d fix their snacks and separate their squabbles, oversee homework and organise dinner. When bedtime came she would tuck them in. Marcus, the eldest, no longer cared for motherly attentions and would grunt his “goodnight” as she switched off the light. Ashleigh and Lucy had to share a room, and although it was Lucy who still begged for bedtime stories, Ashleigh would listen to them with as much delight.
At the moment they were working their way through Peter Pan. Beatrice remembered how, as a child, she would leave her window open and lie awake at night, waiting for Peter Pan to come. She wondered if her girls also dreamt of escaping to Neverland, of not growing up.
It was an autumn night, the temperature dropping quickly, the windows tightly shut. Beatrice knew there was no Peter Pan beyond them. She had grown old waiting for him. She turned her back to the window, picked her cushion up off the floor, and pressed it firmly over Lucy’s face.