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#116: Politeness

#116: Politeness
Odd Spot - The Age - 23/05/2022

Peter's reaction surprised Grace. It was as if a bolt of electricity flittered through his body.

His sister-in-law, although this was their first meeting, and she has only been in the country less than two hours, flung out her breast at the airport cafe. The swaddled infant, all of six-months old, latched on and pulled at the exposed nipple.

Peter's brother was absorbed by his tiny espresso cup to notice either his wife's brashness or the reaction of those around them.

But Grace was painfully aware of it all. And she was ashamed of Peter. Of the prudish Australians who were here to either pick up someone, as they were, or to travel overseas, it wasn't a good look. She wanted to yell that this was just a mother feeding her child. She'd point to them one-by-one and say their mouths once suckled on their mother's breasts.

Admittedly, it probably never occurred in public like this, but by god, it happened.

Her cappuccino arrived, and she thanked the waitress.

"Why do you thank her?" her sister-in-law asked.

Grace wrapped her hand around the warm mug.

"Because she brought me my coffee. And it's the polite thing to do."

"But," she interjected. "You paid for the coffee, and she gets paid, so why the politeness?"

Grace wanted to respond by pointing to the large sign at the end of the arrivals declaring "Welcome to Australia."

"We are polite, I guess." She wanted to add that politeness meant she shouldn't have her breast exposed for all to see, baby or not. And that would mean Peter's reaction would have been justified.