Molly Hathaway-Lewis often woke very early and she had to lie in bed waiting for Dad or Daddy to tell her to get up. It was boring. She had a pile of books and colouring by her bed and at least it was already sunny outside now. In the winter it was always dark and very boring. Sometimes she couldn’t sleep at night, even with the special medicine and that was even more boring, she would have to lie in the dark and watch the night light go around and around, making pictures of Disney Princesses on the ceiling. When she got so bored she would start counting up to a 100 and back down again, and sometimes sing the alphabet, she would try to sing it backwards but the tune went wrong!
But today was different! She was going to break the rules. She was very scared, as she hated breaking rules; it was very unsafe and frightening. But she had talked it over with Auntie Laura and it seemed like a good plan. Sometimes you broke rules because there were other rules for special times.
Today was a special time.
At nursery she had made two special cards. Everyone got grumpy because she was making two cards and they were only allowed to make one. Molly thought it served them right, as ages it ago they had all been horrid when she couldn’t make a card. She had thought about making a card for Daddy, because he seemed to do the things Mummies did in books and in the big wedding picture he was in white and she had been his bridesmaid. But then Dad stayed at home to look after her now so he was like the Mummies in books. In the end she decided it was stupid. Mummies were ladies and Daddies and Dads were men. It didn’t matter what you did. Rebecca’s Mummy stayed at home and made cakes and bread like a storybook Mummy but Peppa’s Mummy stayed at home but worked and everybody else’s Mummy worked too, as well as their Daddies. She didn’t know who cooked and things. Everything got confusing and people didn’t ask her back to tea much. She thought it might be because she hit people but Daddy said it was because she was allergic to lots of foods and people were scared. But she heard Dad and Daddy at night saying some people were ‘homophobic jerks’. She thought that meant the stupid kids who told her it was against the rules to have two dads. They were whom she had punched!
Holding her breath and screwing up her eyes to make her brave Molly climbed out of bed and crept quietly downstairs.
In the kitchen she got out cereal, milk, orange juice, glasses, bowls and spoons and a tray. She found a clean milk bottle and wriggled through the cat flap – Daddy and Dad didn’t know she could do that! – and picked some flowers for the empty milk bottle.
Once everything was on the tray she remembered Auntie Laura say sometimes you can’t carry everything at once.
James had awoken the minute he had heard Molly’s feet patter down the stairs and had prodded a sleepy Robbie once he heard her wriggle through the cat flap again. But since she was so quick before she was back in the house Robbie had gone back to sleep.
James lay, mystified and slightly worried, as Milkshake or a DVD were not put on. Then he heard the patter of her feet, up and down the stairs, several times in succession, quietly, not her usual elephantine stomp.
Molly had a little pile at the top of the stairs that she began to arrange on the tray with the flowers in the middle, the cereal at the back, the orange juice and milk at either end at the bowls either side of the flowers, the wine glasses upside down in the bowls and the spoons also in the bowls. She put the cards in the front, one card had a guitar and had pink sparkles and the other had a picture of a cricket match (or in Molly’s mind it was, it was white splotches for the most part, one with a brown stick shape and a very big red ball in the air).
Satisfied with her arrangement, happy it was as symmetrical as it was going to get, with the milk bottle and the juice being different shapes, she began to very slowly push the tray towards her parents bedroom door.
Once it was there, with no spills or mishaps apart from Dad’s card falling over (Daddy’s card was stiff with glitter and glue and stayed upright nicely), Molly banged on the door and the ran down the corridor to hide and watch.
Now worried James leapt out of bed and opened the door, nearly falling over the tray.
“What now?” he heard Robbie moan from bed. “It’s half past five, man, go back to bed. She’s safe enough.”
“She’s wonderful,” James said, picking up the tray and bringing it to the bed. “Thank you Molly darling,” he called in the direction of her bedroom.
Molly crept shyly back down the hallway to her parents bedroom. “Do you like it?” she demanded at the doorway.
“Oh yes, of course we do!” James swept her up in his arms and spun her around. She snuggled into his shoulder.
“It’s lovely pet. Fabulous,” Robbie added, holding out his arms, muttering sotto voce, “Later would have been better.”
They ate their breakfast with Molly sitting in between eating dry cereal from the packet, much to Dad’s disapproving gaze at Daddy over her head, despite the fact it was far, far to early to be eating breakfast yet.