Flash: Inside Voice

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FreeDigitalPhotos.net photo by Suat Eman

Herding cats would be easier, Cheryl thought as she tried to locate Scott while she pulled the grocery cart into the cashier lane. Maybe a leash would help she thought as annoyance got the better of her when she spotted him near the “As Seen On TV” display. She swore she would not be one of those mothers, but between juggling April who had finally outgrown the child seat and the list of errands she needed to get done before meeting with a client tonight — the “ideal mother” was beginning to be overrun by the “practical mother”.

He wasn’t breaking anything. Still, the store clerks already had a couple of messes to clean up from her foray this afternoon. Her line moved. Once the next person started unloading, Cheryl grabbed the moment to quickly retrieve her wayward four-year old.

Scott looked up as she jogged towards him. He shoved the Gentle Genie box back onto the display and tried to look innocent as he stood up. Ignoring the fact the box was now sandwiched between two MagicClean products, Cheryl instructed Scott “Come on, I’m at the checkout.”

Satisfied he was following her, Cheryl returned to the line in time to move forward. She glanced to make certain Scott didn’t get too distracted on the way back and started unloading the cart. Cheryl smiled as he picked up speed. One of his chores was to unload groceries onto the belt; he loved being old enough to help. Cheryl handed him a bag of diapers nearly as big as he was once he arrived.

She tried not to laugh as she watched him maneuver it over his head onto the shelf. While he was busy, she unloaded the glass jars of baby food and the fragile fruits. When he was ready for the next item, she handed her son a plastic jar of peanut butter.

“Yeah! I love peanut butter!” he shouted to the cashier as he put the peanut butter down too firmly. The jar tipped over and rolled a bit as the conveyor belt moved.

“Inside voice,” Cheryl admonished conversationally.

“But Mom!” He said in a stage whisper; his usual volume change after being asked not to shout.

She gave him a Macaroni and Cheese box. “Yes dear.”

“It is a really BIG inside!” He flung his arms wide since words and actions were basically the same for him, and the box escaped his grip.

Cringing slightly, Cheryl watched it sail past the other two people in line before hitting the cement walkway and skidding to a halt at the carpet edge of the woman’s clothing area.

Going to retrieve the bent, but thankfully unbroken box she admitted the boy had a point. The mega department-grocery combination store had a very big inside.

(words 464 – first published 1/30/2013; republished in new blog format 5/1/2016)