Ollie’s small frame exploded into a run as he saw me standing in the shade. Tears welled in my eyes and I knew that life was indeed good if I could mean this much to someone. I waited for the impact as the small body reached me. My arms were wide then suddenly full of eight year old boy.
“Mum.” His blond head pressed into my stomach.
“Hello, handsome. You survived without me.”
“Yeah, just.” His gap tooth grin filled his freckled face. Had he lost another tooth while I was away? Could things happen that fast? He looked like he had grown an inch. “What did you bring me?” Big eyes stared up at me.
“You didn’t miss me!” I ran my fingers through his hair and savoured the feel of the silky threads. “You only want me for my presents.”
“Yeah right, Mum. So what did you get me?”
I pulled out the football tee shirt from my hand bag and enjoyed the squeal of delight from him.. Simple gift - great pleasure. The sun caught the three carat diamond on my finger. Beautiful gift complicated feelings.
“Over here.” I could see Becca waving from the mass of cars outside the school gates. My head still felt muzzy from the wine at lunch. I should know better but I did it anyway. When will I grow up? Supposedly in two days. I gulped.
“Are we going with Becca and Harry?” Ollie pulled gently at my hand as we walked to the car.
I couldn’t help but smile. Ollie was such a happy child as he rolled from school to afterschool activities. How could I ruin his world?
We arrived at the Mall of Emirates and managed to find a parking space. I was continually amazed that here was a ski slope in the desert. Life was stranger than fiction. The boys rushed off to join their two hour class and we settled down for coffee to kill time. I just hoped that we had finished discussing my sex life as I was not sure I could take any more exposure. If anything sex was the one thing that worked in my marriage but dear Dolores wouldn’t let go of her theories. As she put it she had seen many a marriage come and go and those that had survived were those that kept the sex going. She should know she had been happily married for nearly fifty years and she said they were still at it. It boggled the mind really but it was incredibly sweet as was her concern.
I looked into the creamy froth of my cappuccino and then at the blue light that filled the snow park. In their success of building a ski slope they even managed to capture that low light that fills the mountains before it begins to snow. My eye caught a small child in a tube at the snow play park as I searched for Ollie on the slope. I could just make out Ollie’s class. He and Harry were pushing and shoving each other until they were told off. Both then stood so straight I started laughing.
“Do mind if we slip off and do a bit of shopping?” Becca knocked back her espresso.
“Not at all.” I smiled as I saw just how similar they looked.
Becca bashed me over the top of my head and left with her mother. I wondered how my mother was. I hadn’t heard from her in months but then she had a busy life and didn’t find it necessary to check with her only daughter. I bet Michael had heard from, though. I had always been told that parents kept in touch with daughters and that sons slipped away. It wasn’t that case in our family. The sun rose and set on Michael. I was the after thought. I wondered if it would have been different if dad was still alive.
I waved to the waiter for another. Lack of sleep and two glasses of wine were having their effect. Last night the sofa had not been the best place to sleep especially as Pasha, the cat, chose to nest in my hair. I had woken with an incredibly stiff neck. I hadn’t planned on sleeping on the sofa but it happened.
While I waited for the next dose of caffeine to kick in, I watched the child in the snow park with his maid. I still had to get used to seeing head scarves and ski suits together. I didn’t notice them any where else but just never pictured them on the slopes. Another maid joined the child and swept down the shute with the him laughing for all they were worth. Life was so free when one was young. People looked after you and made sure that nothing happen and then boom the real world hits about age twenty one. The stabilisers are taken away and you are free to fall as hard as you want.
I viewed the maids as they picked up the small child up and tickled him. His was head thrown back and they had matching smiles. The realization kicked in that they were the two Indonesian women on the plane. I watched them pull the kid around and explore the base of the ski slope slowly. The child seemed to want them to go faster but they didn’t oblige him. This was most unusual. Normally maids were much attuned to the child’s desires. Suddenly one of them pulled out of her ski suit a phone, the brand new one I had seen on the plane with the great camera, and began to take pictures. I watched for a while. She was taking so many. I wondered if she knew how to use it yet the flash kept going off. They walked the base of the slope and through the whole kids snow park taking too many pictures to count then it dawned on me that they were not photographing the child but the construction of the slope. Words rumbled in my brain. Snow…….Bomb……….Ski.