Sonshine had a small friend with him, a lovely little bespectacled meerkat of a child whom I adore. He eats everything.
We started our post-school routine: We had snacks together (muller rice and a glass of diluting juice); we did the poetry comprehension homework together and all was going swimingly well.....until I suggested that we walk down to the town (about 5 minutes away) so that we could buy some stuff to turn my excess blackcurrants into a crumble and for chook boobs so that I could make their favourite tea - chicken noodle soup.
Sonshine's face fell: 'But Meerkat is only here until 7 tonight!' he pouted.
'And that's a whole THREE hours away,' I pointed out with a tight smile.
'But Food shopping is SO boring.' he moaned, his bottom lip starting to protrude sulkily.
'Yes, it is boring.' I admitted. 'I find it boring too, if I'm honest. Say, how 'bout I buy you both an ICE CREAM out of the Pokey Hat? Blue Bubblegum, eh? BLUE BUBBLEGUM??!'
I was sure that I was onto a winner. Small boys love ice cream. Especially the parent-frightening e-number riddled electric blue ice-cream notionally flavoured as bubblegum.
The Meerkat started to move towards his shoes. Sonshine put out a hand to stop him from moving any further.
Sonshine picked up his Lego space ship and flew it towards Meerkat: 'Nah. I don't want to.'
The Meerkat said nothing but blinked at me through his specs, sniffing imminent trouble with his meerkat senses.
I had nothing else to wheedle with, having blown my Big Ticket with the offer of blue ice cream.
'But I NEED to buy some things for our evening meal - come on get your shoes on, boys,' I trilled brightly.
'No - we're not going mum. Can't we just have something out the freezer instead?'
I followed them into the playroom, 'Come on guys - I need to go out and I can't leave you behind. Come on!'
Sonshine fixed me with a blue gaze of bored disinterest. Something cast my way fairly often by his father and, it might have been pre-menstrual, it might also have been pre-menopausal, but a red mist descended like low autumn cloud and I knew I had to Get Out Of The Room.
I backed out of the playroom, shut myself in the back sitting room and am ashamed to report that I went into total meltdown.
I took Sonshine's schoolbag and whacked it against the kitchen door, again and again. I then kicked it all around the room before slamming it into the cupboard where it should have been put after school. Then I spied a corncob husk sitting on the windowsill - a treat for Nibbles - which I'd patiently asked (several times) to be put into the kitchen bin. I flung it as hard as I could against the opposite wall, just missing Tertarus's favourite painting. There's not a lot of weight in a corn husk and it wasn't a very satisfactory hurtle, so I grabbed my heavy handbag and smacked it on to the kitchen table. Repeatedly.
I wish I could tell you what was going through my head as I did all that, but there wasn't really anything, just an uncontrollable urge to be physically violent. It didn't last long, probably just a few minutes.
The rage subsided and I slumped down at the kitchen table. I felt preternaturally calm. Odd. Disjointed.
After a while, I simply stood up, cleared up the mess and got on with making the dinner. I'm sure that's not healthy.
I soon got back to feeling normal and by the time Sonshine came into the kitchen to hug me and apologise for 'being so selfish', I was pretty ashamed of how I'd let rip. We hugged for a moment and I kissed the top of his head. Then, a scant two breaths into our embrace, he asked whether he and the Meerkat could play the Wii
Obviously a very sincere apology then.
I said yes. I don't want the Meerkat thinking that I'm utterly psychotic. Off they ran, happy as only small boys with no problems can be.
I started to wash the dishes and then stopped. I pulled off the yellow rubber gloves and sat down at the kitchen table.
For nearly an hour I sat there. Not doing anything, just sitting thinking - trying to burrow down to the root of why I'd totally flipped out. This was so NOT me. Where had this anger come from? I tried to look at it objectively - Was this really about B not being willing to go food shopping? Was it about something else? That look in his eye? Was this somehow all to do with his father? With MY father? oh fuck knows....
My handbag lay in the cupboard where I had tossed it after my outburst. I fetched it over to the table to see if I'd done any damage to the contents. The left leg of my reading glasses had snapped off at the hinge. I taped it back together with Duct Tape and am now sitting here typing away to you like a computer-literate Jack Duckworth.
I'm not proud of what I did yesterday, but at least I didn't do it in front of the kids. I'm still not sure whether making this a blog posting is a good idea - putting this sort of information Out There about yourself, well, it might earn me a visit from Social Services or a doctor who 'just happens to be passing'.
I'm not mad. I'm fine, honestly. Aren't I?