A Forlorn Request (short story)

‘Muuuum, can I pleeeeeease have my iPad?’

The request interrupted a deep sleep and a very pleasant dream, and despite the forlorn tone to the voice, I had no intention of giving in. I opened one eye to see which sweet child of mine was asking, at the same time as I peeked at the clock: 06.10. Fuck. I’d lost track of how many times I cursed myself over the rookie parenting mistake of purchasing each child their own iPad Mini, some years ago, at Christmas. These devices are the child version of crack cocaine. Fidgeting fingers, glassy eyes as the kids crave for more, more, more. A sense of euphoria once they hold them in their small hands. An alertness that I’ve never seen in any of the children when they’re doing homework. And a deep depression when I told them screen time was done for the day.

I mustered every measure of pleasantness I could for my answer. I saw Cody, standing next to my bed, looking at me with those glassy eyes, pleading silently.

‘No, sorry bud,’ I hoped I didn’t sound snarly. But Jesus, I was. ‘After brekkie.’

A scream. He took that well.

I settled my head back on the pillow, shut my eyes, and willed myself to drift back off to sleep. I hoped I could get back into that dream I’d been having. I was able to remember small snippets: there was a beach, cocktails, there was a very handsome man, if not Brad Pitt, then someone who looked startlingly similar to him, applying sunscreen to my body, and there to provide my every wish and whim.

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