Sunday, 16 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Roman Holiday' by Judy Tweddle

At 7a.m.  Alicia sets up breakfast.  It’s cool on the Aventine Hill: the garden is shady.  It will be fun to get show new daughter-in-law around Rome. At 8 a.m.  she puts the rolls back in their bag. At 9 o’clock she brings in the butter and milk. She frowns and switches on her Italian lesson;  lies back on the elegant sofa, with her earplugs in.    At 9.30 she clicks off her lesson, cross.  She sets up breakfast noisily inside.  Already it’s too hot to sit outside, and the day is passing. Michael never used to sleep this long.  Jane must be lazy.  A bad influence. 

At 8 am.  Michael leaves Jane asleep and tiptoes into the sitting room.  His mother is not there.   She must still be asleep.  He goes back to bed beside his wife, and reads till he falls asleep.  At 9.05 he goes into the sitting room.  His mother is lying on the sofa with her eyes closed.  He goes back to his room and reads another chapter of his book.  It has been a long term.  He looks at his newly pregnant wife with gentle eyes. She is sleeping for two, and it was a long flight.  His mother is still dozing. 

At 8 a.m.  Jane dreams of butterflies and giant peaches.  At 9 a.m.  she is too deeply asleep to dream.  At 10 am she stirs, holds her tummy, and smiles, remembering where she is.  She smiles and slips on the silk dressing gown left out for her.  The tiles are cool to her feet.  Michael emerges, showered and they go through. ‘What time do you think this is to get up.  Half the day has gone.’  Jane and Michael stare at the new mother-in-law, in shock. 

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