Lucy was asleep on the sofa when Barbara returned from her shopping excursion.
“Hellooo!!” Barbara trilled, “Luceeeee!!”
She sighed and rolled over, making sure she kept her eyes tightly closed so as not to attract attention. If Barbara thought she was asleep she would hopefully leave her in peace. No such luck. For today, it transpired through Barbara’s muffled shouts from the hallway, was the ladies’ bridge afternoon, which meant that Lucy would be fully expected to join in the festivities.
Unable to ignore Barbara’s incessant crashing and banging any longer, she slowly stretched out and peeled herself off the sofa with a heavy heart. Walking into the kitchen, she saw Barbara unpacking several hefty shopping bags. The purpose of this particular shopping trip, like so many others before, had been to purchase ‘nibbles’ for the occasion – a concept that seemed to have been well and truly lost on this particular group of ladies, given the amount of food they systematically shovelled into their cavernous mouths at any one sitting. Lucy often thought it quite a feat that they managed to get the food anywhere near their mouths, such was the amount of blubber surrounding their big pink faces.
Sitting down by the table, she surveyed the pots of brightly coloured additive-laden dips, multi-pack bags of crisps and hugely calorific boxes of cream cakes. Her heart sank even heavier in her chest and she let out an almost imperceptible sigh.
“Oh! Lucy!” Barbara detected her presence and spun around to face her. “You look such a mess!” she gasped, “and the bridge girls will be here in half an hour – what on earth are we going to do with you?”
Barbara, oblivious as always to anyone’s feelings other than her own, continued to berate Lucy without pausing for breath. “You haven’t time for a bath now so we’ll just have to fix your hair and hope for the best. What a shame! I so wanted you to look pretty for our guests!”
Pretty. Lucy couldn’t care less if she looked pretty or not. She just wanted to be treated with some respect. Why was she expected to perform like a circus animal every time those big pink ladies came over? She was sick of being paraded around like a toy.
“I’m six years old!” she thought to herself, “Not a baby!” Crossly, she turned on her heels and stormed out of the kitchen, pausing briefly to cast a mournful look at the cream cakes. How could Barbara gorge herself on such delectable foods when all she fed Lucy was tinned food and leftovers? Whenever Lucy expressed an interest Barbara would say, “You can’t eat this, it’s bad for your digestion.” It really was despicable.
Three hours later the bridge ‘girls’ had gone, leaving a trail of crumbs behind them, trampled into the carpet. Barbara, slightly merry after two glasses of Babysham, was finishing the washing up and singing to herself. Lucy was standing behind her, glowering. Having been forced to watch them devour every morsel on offer, she had almost reached the end of her tether. And if only she could talk she would say so. There was really only one thing that could save the situation and prevent her from walking out for good.
And, at that moment, a miracle happened. Casting aside her rubber gloves on the draining board, Barbara spun around and smiled broadly. “WALKIES!” she warbled. And in that very instant, all was forgiven.