Posted: 25 February 2011
Word Count: 300
Summary: Challenge 345
Emily Brown looked up at the bright red clock. Time was dragging. Her class was excited about the imminent holiday. Emily visualised a row of gin and tonics with slices of lemon or lime. Hen-night tonight.
Emily noticed little George sitting on his own. His friends had deserted him.
‘Excuse me will you get back to your own table. George is on his own.’ She shot a quick smile at him.
‘He smells miss,’ said Peter.
‘I beg your pardon. That is very unkind. Say sorry at once.’ Peter was a precocious six¬- year old.
‘But he does miss.’ He pinched his nose with one hand and wafted the air with the other. The class dissolved into laughter.
‘Peter Kiwi,’ said Emily raising her voice, ‘that is enough. I shall speak to your mother.’
‘Story time. Sit on the blue carpet. All crayons and pencils away. We don’t want anything going missing. Now which story would you like me to read?’
A sea of hands shot up and waved about in an imaginary storm.
‘The adventures of Princess Grace in her beautiful strawberry dress.’
‘Miss!’ said Michael, ‘You haven’t finished Johnny Apple Tree.’
Silence. Eager intent faces listened.
The bell rang and she waved them off. She felt a tug on her sleeve. George looked up at her.
‘Sorry Miss,’ he whispered, ‘my mum is not very well at the moment.’
Emily’s vision blurred as she handed him an apple.
‘Thank you Miss.’
In that moment she realised why she had come into the profession.
Later that evening the party was in full swing but Emily kept thinking of little George. ‘Hey Emily, penny for them?’ said Mary.
‘What? Oh .. nothing I was just thinking about George.’
‘So you heard? His mother died this morning.’
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