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#114: Survive

#114: Survive
Odd Spot - The Age - 19/05/2022

Grace quietly opens the back door. Tilly bolts the moment her body can squeeze through.

The night air tickles her arms and sends a shiver down the back of her neck. Jetlag is a bitch, she thinks. Three o'clock with little chance of her getting back to sleep. She knows today is going to be a slog.

She needs to slip back into the routine. It isn't just the time zone difference, but also to life as it once was. The kids were excited to see her again, after three weeks overseas dealing with her sister's body, and then having her passport stolen. It had been one hell of a long time away. The house, her husband, the kids, the unpacked dishwasher all seemed to have been frozen, unchanged when so much in her own world had changed.

Grace watches Tilly circle around the perfect spot and then hunches forward. Her shit is not as solid as it should be, and she wonders what Peter has been feeding her.

Inside, Grace inspects the cupboards and fridge. It looks kind of normal, with there being flavoured milk and bars of chocolate, things she never buys for the kids.

It is when she inspects the rubbish bin that she finds the evidence she was looking for. Packets of chips, the kind parents who don't care for their children properly, stuff into empty lunch boxes. She riffles through and finds an ice-cream tub and packets of lollies.

She doesn't begrudge Peter's efforts. It could not have been easy to step in and do the work of two.

But she can't help feel betrayed they could survive without her.