“Was that Mellissa?” shouted Geraldine once more. “She’s here early. I told her only to come at seven”. Mellissa was the babysitter, someone who Penelope felt rather indifferent towards for three reasons. Firstly, the fact that her mother still considered her young enough to need a babysitter annoyed her to the very core. Secondly, because Penelope was third on the babysitting list, or in other words, the last resort, she didn’t exactly have the sunniest of dispositions. Thirdly, she was one of the nosiest persons Penelope had ever met, always asking dumb questions and snooping around the house.
“No ma, just a delivery man!” Penelope answered inattentively as she fumbled with the duct tape. The scissors were so blunt that the tape just slipped between the two blades, effectively cutting nothing. “Hmm, guess I’ll open the scissors wide and use the blade as a knife then,” the girl thought. Penelope pressed the single blade against the tape. First nothing gave; then she pressed harder. Her heart jumped as she felt the scissors slip and slice her skin. Her eyes began to sting with tears, “Ma ma!”
Melissa ran down the stairs, skipping a step each time. She knew her little girl only called her that that when she was in distress. She came into the room and saw Penelope clutching her hand.
“Oh my darling what happened?”
“The…the…scissors slipped,” sobbed Penelope through tears that were now running quite freely down her blotchy pink face.
“There, there, it’s not too bad; just a small cut. Let’s get it cleaned up and put a plaster on it…we’ve still got some of those glow-in-the-dark ones left. Leave that here with Minnie.” With the expert touch of a mother, Geraldine moved the parcel onto the couch, scooped Penelope up in a single movement and led her out the room. Once in the bathroom, Geraldine kicked the toilet lid down with her boot and placed her daughter tentatively down. She kneeled on the floor, reached into the bathroom cupboard and hauled out the medicine case. She clicked the childproof locks and began her motherly duties.
“You know mom, I still cry sometimes but I’m not so small anymore. I know how to open the childproof locks, so doesn’t that mean I’m not a kid anymore? Doesn’t it mean that I can look after myself and Mellissa can stay at her house?
“Honey, if anything had to happen to you my world would crumble. You know that you mean everything to me.”
The doorbell rang again. Geraldine stood up to answer. From the bathroom Penelope could hear that it was the babysitter. With a start, the little girl wiped her tears, ran to the lounge and concealed the parcel under the couch cushion. Just then, the bright beam of a car’s headlights illuminated the room.
“Penny, Mike’s here, I’ll be off now,” said Geraldine, as she walked in and leaned down to give her daughter a kiss. “Be good OK.” She opened her umbrella and left the house.
Mellissa stepped into the lounge from the hallway. “Hi Penelope, how are you? Your mum said you cut yourself you poor thing. How did that happen? Are you feeling better now?” quizzed Mellissa.