It was the way she said it, in that peremptory tone, dripping with vexation. “Shut that door after you.”
Sounds innocuous, but then this is my mother that we are talking about. I had failed her once again. What had I done that had brought on such a display of displeasure? Well it didn’t take much to aggravate mother. I had been a source of aggravation from practically the moment I
was born. Our forty year relationship had been fraught with such incidents, from as far back as I can remember. Her only child, I had been a disappointment to her in just about everything. You would think I might have grown immune to her sulks, acerbic comments, put downs, and the rest, but no, she could still rile me or hurt me , however much I tried to pretend otherwise.
So, what was it this time? How had a simple trip to get 20 items on a shopping list become a bone of contention? What heinous crime had I committed? How had I failed in my appointed task? What had managed to ruffle mother’s feathers for the umpteenth time?
Well , I had transgressed by unwittingly not sticking to the script. In other words, something alien had crept into the shopping basket, in this case a tin of processed peas, when the list had been quite specific, ‘two tins of garden peas.’ Some shelf stacker at Tesco had carelessly shoved some processed amongst the garden and I had failed to notice. It was all that was needed to reveal me , yet again, as a daughter found wanting.
The Battle of the Peas this time, Siege of the Satsumas next perhaps. Our ongoing Cold War , ‘to be continued.’