The fifth story is here. So today I got this idea, then immediately my brain started giving me reasons why I shouldn’t write it – It’s already been done, you can’t pull off humour, nobody is going to be interested in that, boring… and, and, and. My mind is a very cruel and destructive support system. I need to re-educate it that I can do anything. I am ignoring this inner voice and doing it anyway.
Beth dropped her sixteen-year-old daughter at the mall, watched her disappear through the doors and sped off to the covered parking. She picked the entrance closest to the arcade and accessed the tracking app she had installed on Jenny’s phone.
As she walked through the doors the blue dot was to her left and heading towards her. She pulled her pashmina scarf over her head, wrapped it around her chin, and pretended to look in the shop window, but glancing to the side until she spotted her target. After she had passed, her mother followed, staying near the edges.
Jenny waved to someone and rushed into a hug with… with a boy. Busted! He looked vaguely familiar. One of her classmates maybe. This was a date, not bowling and dinner with friends. Beth trailed a little behind as they went into the arcade.
More hugs. More boys. What the…
She ducked behind a pot plant as her daughter looked in her direction. Pushing one of the branches down she saw three girls approach the group and hug each one of them. Oh, not a date after all.
Turning to leave she walked straight into a solid chest of brown uniform. Stepping back she was met with the stone face of a security guard.
“Mam, I need you to come with me.”
“You have been behaving suspiciously since you walked into the centre and we have some questions for you regarding a kidnapping syndicate.”
“Kidnapping? You think I want to… Oh no, I was just following my daughter to make sure she wasn’t on a date. It’s ok, her friends are here as well. All good,” she gave a nervous giggle.
“If that is the case, I need to escort you off the premises to make sure.”
“Off the premises,” Beth raised her voice. “No, I’m going to sit and have coffee until they’re done.”
“Checkout that weirdo lady causing a scene,” one of the girls said. “She was spying at someone through that plant. Actually,” she said turning to Jenny, “she looked a lot like your mom.”
“No ways. My mom knows I was coming to meet you guys,” said Jenny turning away from the scene, then taking another sneak look in case it was. Her cheeks pinked at the thought it could be true.
“Then I need your daughter to confirm who you are,” the guard insisted.
“What? No! She can’t know I’m here,” Beth whispered pulling her scarf tighter around her head. “You obviously don’t have kids, officer… Adams,” she said reading his nametag. “Sometimes you just have to make sure, especially if you’ve got a girl.”
“Yeah ok, I have a younger sister. Just try not to act so sketchy next time.”
“There won’t be a next time,” came Jenny’s raised voice behind them. “Unbelievable mom,” she said stomping back to her friends.
by Debbie Gravett © 2020.11.28
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay