Simon Says Three
Your Sweetness is my weakness
So here we were for the jam.
I’ve always liked the idea of a jam, if I’m honest, though not the fruit kind. More, the getting together of musicians and having play.
Not necessarily improvisation. This word scares me. The uncertainty. The bit where suddenly someone points and you and it’s your turn. So you play a few scales, get confused. You know the theory as you’ve read about it, but not the practice. So the conductor gets fed up and points to the lad next to you with the flaxen hair, who manages something exciting that exactly goes with the chords and goes very high. As if they planned it. And you’re looking sheepish again.
But a general getting together of musicians with sheet music is always a pleasure. Always a joy. And perhaps not a jam. How would I know? I had never been invited to one since the whole bloody improvisation incident.
But these aren’t my heady but brief music centre days. We are concerned with the taking of the fruit off the tree and the making of jam. The date was set between Simon and his parents. The loppers have been brought. I breastfeed my hungry baby while my mother in law and father in law and husband nurse the apricots off the tree. I’m so pleased to be sitting down. I’m exhausted from the feeding every couple of hours, day and night.
‘We’ll have a sit down while you make a drink. It uses a lot of energy harvesting the apricots.’
My mother-in-law takes off her Clarks shoes in the bootroom and comes in, and I’m pleased she’s respecting our no shoes rule.
‘Would you like a cup of tea, Frank?’ I ask.
‘No,’ he says, sharply. ‘I don’t drink tea. I only drink coffee. You ought to know that by now…’
Louis cries. He probably needs more milk. Or burping. Or a poo. I’m not really sure.
‘Louis’s crying,’ says mother-in-law, helpfully.
‘I know,’ I nearly say. But I do not, because… I’m not rightly sure any more, as I am tired through lack of sleep. Louis is only four weeks old. But it is apricot harvesting time. We do this every year. We take them off every year before they are ready to drop.
As I go to Louis in the pram section of his buggy in the sitting room, I hear mother-in-law say. ‘She still breastfeeding?’
‘Yes,’ says Simon.
Louis is awake and does need more burping, so I pick him up. I can still hear them through the six panel pitch pine doors.
‘Did you tell her about that formula that you can add in with the breastmilk?’
‘She’s pretty resolute on just feeding him herself.’
‘He just seems a little… hungry.’
I jiggle Louis back into the lounge and make sure every single last bit of milk that will come back out has come back out onto the muslin square on my shoulder before I lay him back down.
‘Don’t worry. I’ve sorted the coffee,’ shouts Simon. And as I walk in, he says ‘did you want one?’
(c) Rebecca Deans 2015