‘The wheels are already in motion,’ Scotty said, moving his hands around each other to emphasise his point.
Cindy was stirring a pot on the stove. The plum tree was heavy with fruit, the best yield in years. She’d been outside, up a ladder with a bucket early that morning, picking those at the top of the tree, before the birds ate them all. Now mid-morning, she’d washed, de-stoned and cut the fruit in halves. Set one saucepan bubbling, making stewed plums; another saucepan simmering with the jam mixture. The last thing she needed was more trouble from Scotty.
‘Well, you’ll just have to stop those wheels.’ Cindy said, not even turning to look at her son. She was livid, although gave none of this away in her tone or actions. But she was reaching tipping point; this was not the first time Scotty had gone ahead and organised a ‘gath’—a term she loathed—with his mates, after she and Raf had said no.
‘Your father and I don’t want you going to these gath-er-ings.’ She purposely exaggerated the syllables of the word, and could almost hear Scotty’s eyes roll back in his head. ‘Everyone’s too young, too well-off and bored, not to mention under-parented,’ she took a breath. ‘And we know there’s drugs and alcohol consumed. You’re only fifteen.’
Scotty swore under his breath. Cindy flinched. Scotty said, ‘Arrrgggh, mum, you’re so lame.’
Her shoulders inched up to her ears, but she kept a hold of her emotions. In no way would she allow this to descend into a screaming match between her and Scotty.
‘I’m sorry you’re confusing love and affection, wanting the best for you, with being lame. This conversation’s over.’ Cindy turned the gas jet off, moving the saucepan with the stewed plums to the sink to cool and made eye contact with her son.
He lowered his gaze first.
Cindy began pouring the jam mixture into the sterilised glass jars, humming a tune to herself.