Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
It was a new coffee rendezvous for both of them. Beth enjoyed the opportunity to have a chin wag with her only daughter Maria
‘How’s your week been?’ Beth always started their coffee get together with a simple but what appeared to be, for Maria, a loaded question.
‘No probs Mum.’ Maria said with out much enthusiasm concentrating on chasing the froth of her cappuccino with her teaspoon not wanting to look her mother straight in the eye.
‘Mohamed bought a new lawnmower last week so the place is looking less scrappy.’ With this statement Maria seemed to shrug off her disinterest and offer the information to say something positive about her husband.
‘About time, the place was starting to look like a shanty dwelling.’ Beth’s comment was as usual direct and bordering on cruel.
‘Oh it wasn’t that bad and you gotta remember Mohamed is keeping down two jobs, so he’s flat out ‘
‘So how are things with you two?’ Beth could not help going straight to what she regarded as the nub of the matter.
‘Okay, uh good.’ Maria’s response was not very convincing. ‘I am a little concerned about the children though; they have been a little quiet lately and I am not sure why.’
‘Having problems at school?’ Beth’s question indicated she was genuinely concerned. This was a rare occasion when her daughter confided in her that she may have a problem.
‘Nah, they both adore their teachers and really enjoy going and they have a good group of school friends.’ a simple smile lit up Maria’s face as she briefly captured the images of her son and daughter in her mind. ‘No it’s at home that they go quiet.’
‘It appears to be when Mohamed is with us’ Maria was reluctant to divulge this, as she knew it might open a can of worms with her mother.
‘He’s not too tough on them is he?’
‘NO! At least I don’t think so …’
‘You need to sort it out.’ Beth had moved forward on her chair and was leaning across the table staring directly at Maria with a look of desperation and concern on her face. ‘His upbringing may be a problem you know. You never know what cultural influence have on a person’s behaviour.’
Oh don’t go on just because he is from Lebanon, and not a ten pound Pom like you and Dad, doesn’t mean that he is ill adjusted.’ Maria was starting to boil inside.
‘Anyway I will talk to him; just need to wait for the right moment. Mohamed is sometimes difficult to talk to, about the children that is.’ Again she realised that she had said more than she wanted to.
‘Just need to let sleeping dogs lie at the moment, Mohamed and I have a heavy work schedule at the moment.’
Beth had not heard from Maria for a good three weeks, which was not unusual, but Beth had a strange foreboding about Maria’s family.
Beth was in the kitchen preparing dinner when there was a loud knock on the front door.
As she opened the door Mohamed stood there with a distressed look on his face he blurted out ‘Maria and the kids are they here?’ he was agitated
‘No. What’s wrong?’
‘I came home from work and they were not at home; they usually are on Tuesday. And I found this.’ he held out his hand with a small scrap of paper in it.
Beth grabbed the paper, it was a note written by Maria, it said: ‘I feel like I am standing on the cliff of anxiety looking down into the valley of despair the kids and I need a rest.’
The phone rang in the background. ‘I need to answer that,’ said Beth as she disappeared into the house.
After a few minutes she returned to the front door. Mohamed was sitting on the top step of the stairs leading to the front porch his head in his hands.
‘It was Maria she and the kids are with her Aunt. She seems happy enough. She said she was leaving now and was on her way home. I asked her about the note, she said it was part of one the kids’ English homework assignments.’
Bio: Paul calls this a simple piece with dark undertones.