An important part of writing stories is editing. Even the most famous authors who have written many books go over their work again and again fixing mistakes and making good writing better. At the moment I am rewriting and editing a novel to make it the best it can be. Going through 50,000 words is keeping me busy so while I do that I thought you might like to read a short story I wrote a few years back. You are the first children to read it Hope you enjoy it.
An Everyday Mum
By Melinda Szymanik
“I’m sure my mother is an alien,” Thomas said as we came down the hill toward my place. “I don’t know what planet she’s from but she’s just the weirdest.”
“Oh?” I said.
“She’s gone all strange since we moved up here, lighting candles and buying crystals and reading tea leaves and stuff” he said.
“Ah,” I said.
We parked our skateboards by the back door and walked into the kitchen. A batch of homemade chocolate chip biscuits lay cooling on a wire rack. Their smell filled the room. Mum had been baking again.
“Those look really good. Let’s have a couple,” said Thomas.
“Nah, my Mum’s got supersonic ears that can hear me taking something out of the kitchen that I’m not meant to. You watch,” I said opening the fridge door and bending down to the cans of fizzy drink on the bottom shelf.
“Nathan, what are you doing in the fridge,” a voice called out from a distant room in the house.
“I’m just thirsty Mum.”
“There’s perfectly good water in the tap.”
“Wow,” said Thomas.
Thomas was my new friend. He’d moved in round the corner from our house and just started at my school. We had a heap of things in common, like skateboarding and collecting old Spiderman comics and secretly reading books. I’d just been over to his place and now, for the first time, he was visiting over at my place.
I was showing him round the house.
“This is the kitchen. Cups and stuff are in here. The loo is in there,” I said pointing to the toilet door as we walked down the hallway, “and that’s my sister, Ruby,” I said pointing at her lying on her bed dressing her doll. She poked her tongue out. I just stopped myself from poking my tongue back. I laughed instead and Thomas laughed too.
“Go away,” my sister shouted.
“Nathan! Don’t tease your sister,” my mother’s disembodied voice floated down the hall.
I took Thomas upstairs to my room and we ended up playing on the computer out on the landing.
After a while we got sick of computer games and went back outside. Mum was hanging out the washing at the rotary line with her back to us. Thomas and I picked up our skateboards as quietly as we could. I should really have been doing my homework by now but we were having too much fun.
“If you’re going for a ride on your skateboard Nate, could you get me a carton of milk please? There’s money in my purse on the kitchen bench.” She hadn’t even turned around. She was pegging out a big sheet and she’s not very tall. It looked tricky.
“She’s got eyes in the back of her head,” I said to Thomas. Thomas gave me a funny look.
“Should we help her with that sheet?” he asked.
“No its okay, she’s got a third arm as well.”
Thomas’s head whipped back round to stare at my Mum. She still had her back to us but the sheet was now perfectly pegged out on the line, stretched taut, flapping in the breeze. She was bending back down to the basket, a shirt already draped over her shoulder as she picked out a towel.
I poked him in the back. “I’m only kidding.”
We rode our skateboards down to the skate park, but my wheels kept jamming up. I jumped off and picked my board up, turning it over to check it out. Someone had stuck plasticene in the ball bearings of one of the front wheels and I knew who the criminal was. “That little witch!” I exclaimed. “She’s always mucking my things up on purpose.”
Thomas was impressed. “My little sister would never think up anything as good as this.”
“Barbie’s gonna pay, man. It’ll be a quick trip to the hairdressers for her,” I said in a funny voice. Thomas laughed
But I was annoyed. We had to forget the skateboarding and go straight to the shops for the milk. We spent the thirty cents change on some lollies. It seemed fair after what Ruby had done and I thought Mum wouldn’t mind once I’d explained.
When we got back from the shops we could hear Mum singing in the kitchen. She sings a lot. We’re used to it and she’s not too bad at it although the songs are a bit old and crusty.
My hand was on the back door handle when she called out, “I can make some hot chocolate with that milk for you two if you like.”
“Do you want something to drink?” I asked my new friend.
I looked at Thomas.
“What’s wrong mate?”
“Your Mum’s in there,” Thomas said biting his lip.
“It’s like she’s from outer space, or something,” he said, dead serious.
“Don’t be silly. None of those things I said before are true. She hasn’t got supersonic ears or eyes in the back of her head.”
“I know, I know,” Thomas said. “It’s just…”
“She’s just a great Mum,” I said. “And she makes the best hot chocolates. You’ll see. Come on.”
We went inside and I introduced Thomas properly to my Mum. She smiled and said hello and took the milk from him with a thank you. She had jeans and a t-shirt on. She looked like an everyday Mum and I could see Thomas relax.
“I wish you wouldn’t call your sister names,” she said, as she put the cooled biscuits in a tin.
“She messed up my skateboard,” I complained.
“I’m sure I can fix it,” she said. “I’ll have a go after I’ve made dinner. I’ve left some biscuits for both of you even though you’ve already eaten.” Thomas’s mouth was hanging open in surprise.
“How does she do that?” he whispered incredulously.
“You’ve got a red tongue from the lollies you goober,” I whispered back with a laugh. “She’s just very observant.” But it was lucky that Thomas was tipping his head back to drain the last of his hot chocolate from his cup when Mum’s third eyelids slid across her eyes as she was chopping onions. Because it wasn’t his Mum that was an alien, it was mine.