by Fallon from the novel
Forgotten by Nikki Mahood
I've got the post-Christmas blues, it gets worse every year, November arrives and brings with it birthdays and the beginning of the season to be jolly. My son gets a year older, my husband gets a year older, I get a year older and then it’s Christmas, not just the day, but the season, parties and presents, shopping and stressing, then Boxing Day arrives and you think to yourself 'what the hell? It's over?'. Or I do, January appears after midnight on New Year’s Eve, bringing with it resolutions and sales, more shopping, more stressing, over resolutions failed in the first seven days and clothes that are to die for but don't fit because Christmas was just here and it left a few Quality Street induced pounds and ounces behind. My life isn't any different than it was two months ago, sure three of our four piece family are older, there are new bits of Lego to trod on and more glittery fairy wings than any little girl needs leaving a trail of sparkling devastation on every soft furnishing in the house, but aside from a decision to join the gym or draw more, I'm unchanged.
It’s a strange sensation, to fail at something you were never really committed to from the outset. This year I promised myself I would cook more, no, not reheat M&S ready meals or the food my mother prepared and froze, but actually follow recipes, slice and dice, bubble and boil, meals that are suitable for my adventurous husband and son, my baby girl with her sensitive palate and me, the fussy cow. On the second of January I started it, I bought a Nigella book (secretly hoping I could learn to be sexy while cooking), picked what looked like a simple chicken dish we would all enjoy and strode off to the supermarket with a hyperactive three year old boy and an eighteen month old girl who recently learnt how to release herself from the buggy. It started off well, carrots and potatoes lay on the bottom of my basket, that's the aisle the boy doesn't want to have anything from, but then, well then I needed flour (Yorkshire puddings, with chicken, I know it's wrong, but they're yummy and basically pancakes. Aren't they?) of course the flour aisle is the baking aisle. A cacophony of Thomas the Tank Engine bun mixes and sparkly sprinkles, this set them both off, the ‘I wants’ and the roaring No when I declined to purchase them, I grabbed the wrong flour, corn flour, and headed to get the cream for the sauce. Of course that's near the yoghurts and cheese, specifically Mini Babybels and Petit Filous, James' favourites, more of the I want and Nows from him and then Edie let herself out of the buggy, unbuttoned her duffle coat, casting it aside and ran off down the aisle faster than Usain Bolt at this summer's Olympics. However unwisely, I left the boy unattended and in a more Mo Farah after a curry fashion, ran after Edie, who wasn't hard to track, she'd left a trail of glitter in her wake.
Once I'd retrieved her, accepted a good kick to the shins that, were she using against an actual attacker and not her mother, I would be proud of, and slung her over my shoulder, returning to a scene that looked like a massacre in a dairy plant. There was my son, sitting on the floor, eating a Petit Filous by squeezing the sides of the tub together with one hand and alternating licks of yoghurt with nibbles of Mini Babybel, including wax.
It was then, while throwing the remnants of his self-made picnic into the basket (in the minute I was gone he'd half eaten seven yoghurts, don't ask me how, he got that from his father), securing a screaming little sprinter into her buggy and trying not to laugh while chastising what can only be described as the cutest little boy ever, that I realised why Abner does the food shop and cooking, because he can handle the pressure. I could probably learn to cook, that would however mean being the shopper in the house, this differs significantly from strolling along and pushing the buggy beside him while he has James in the trolley and selects the items we need. Sure I put the odd thing that matters into the trolley too, wine, coffee, deluxe bars of Galaxy Caramel and of course, Ben & Jerry’s, but my calm husband, who cooks without recipes, knows the layout location and relevance of all purchases. Following my revelation, I threw an Indian family banquet into the basket, added some of the aforementioned necessities, and profusely apologised to the checkout girl who got her hands covered in fromage frais, while also explaining they may need a clean-up on Aisle 5.
The freedom of ditching my only resolution was amazing, after a liberal baby wiping of my son and a swift bum clean of my daughter in the baby change loo, I strode off down the street to a coffee shop where I did what I do best, drank coffee and bribed my children with cupcakes.
So yes, January blues, but what the hell, they have sales, I have a husband with a trust fund and following a less fraught shopping trip just this afternoon, I have a brand new handbag which I got for 60% off, January isn't all that bad after all.
Fallon Magee lives her life, she doesn't particularly like it, but she gets on with it all the same...
Until one average Friday night she heads out to meet her loyal band of friends and meets an anything but average man...
Abner knows deep down inside that there is something about her she's keeping to herself, the problem is, can he get her to tell him before it ruins everything...
Sometimes the Keys to your heart are more literal than you ever dared to imagine.