About midday, Brenda put her trainers on and power walked up to the parade. Suzy was already waiting for her outside Luisa’s Café. They went in. As it was early, they had the pick of the tables before the lunch time rush and settled in their usual spot round the other side of the counter out of the draught. The salad was outsized by the beef lasagne but they didn’t let that put them off as they discussed progress made so far in their respective homes.
Brenda remembered the handkerchief in her pocket.
“For a minute there, I thought you were going to do a magic trick” Suzy smiled intrigued as Brenda slowly pulled it from her pocket. They both studied it.
“I can’t remember what I’m s’pposed to remember” Brenda emphasised between mouthfuls of Tiramisu.
“How ‘bout birthdays?” offered Suzy helpfully waving her spoon about.
“No. Mark’s was in February and Jenny’s in June.”
“Wedding anniversary?” Even Suzy was doubtful of this.
“That was in July and Mark took me to Paris for the weekend.”
“Why didn’t you just write it in your diary?” Brenda took the hint to change the subject. They finished lunch savouring the froth from their cappuccinos as they discussed where Cameron went wrong; came up with a sound plan to boost the economy, and decided that the adverts were right: ASDA still offered the best value for money.
A few hours later, Brenda was still puzzling over the knotted hankie as she vacuumed the living room carpet. She stopped suddenly and listened. She was right: the phone was ringing.
“Brenda darling. Did you forget?” Brenda caught the concern in her mother’s voice, but at least she seemed to be nearer to the truth.
“Sorry mum… Er, forget what?”
“To ring me! You always ring me at two o’clock on Wednesdays; it’s nearly three now.”
Brenda clamped a hand over her mouth. “I’m so sorry mum.” Her mum chuckled at the irony of it all once her daughter had explained the reason for her lapse in memory.
“Well sorry I can’t help you with that. Maybe it’s not that important.”
“Yes, thanks Mum. Byee.”
Despite cleaning the whole house the reason for the knot never came to mind. Gosh it’s so frustrating! Think woman think! But no, nothing. Like mum said: Can’t have been that important. With that thought Brenda tossed the handkerchief onto the kitchen table before grabbing the car keys to go and pick up her daughter from school.
About five o’clock, her mobile phone rang. It was her husband, Mark.
“Hello gorgeous!” Brenda grinned at the slow and seductive voice.
“Sorry do I know you?” she teased and was greeted with a throaty laugh.
“Listen luv I’m leaving work now… I’ve forgotten what you wanted from ASDA’s?
Brenda laughed convinced she was about to solve the mystery of the knotted hankie. But no, Mark was adamant that he hadn’t tied a knot in anything – let alone a hankie and his at that. Still, after his call, Brenda insisted on texting a list of items – plus a few extras which came to mind – to make sure he got everything. Jenny came bounding down the stairs, as she pressed the ‘send’ button.
“Ah, you found it Mummy! Where was it? I was looking for it everywhere!” Jenny snatched up the knotted cloth in disbelief.
“You mean that’s your hankie!”
“Well… it’s daddy’s… where was it?”
“Under my pillowcase?”
“Oh I should’ve looked there first” came the casual reply.
At that moment, Brenda recalled her daughter’s sulky expression earlier that morning after a ticking off from her Dad for jumping up and down on their bed.
“Jenny, since when did you go tying knots in your dad’s hankies? What were you s’pposed to remember?”
“Remember? What’dya mean, mummy. I’m not s’pposed to remember anything.”
“What about the knot, then?” she gently took the hankie from her daughter and held it by the knot.
“Knot? It’s for Art – we’re doin’ tye and dye tomorrow.”
“Brenda stared at her daughter now absorbed in the picture she was drawing, at the kitchen table. Then, she threw her head back and laughed her head off.
Jenny looked at her mum, somewhat bemused “What’s so funny mummy?” she said.