To fill in her time while in isolation, Christine had been working on some new cartoons for the Campus Courier. She just finished one and was uploading it when her phone beeped. While the file was uploading she read the text then rushed out of her room, found her mother in the kitchen, put her arms around her and gave her mother a big hug.
“Chris! What are you doing; you’re supposed to be in quarantine.”
“It’s OK Mum, look at this.”
‘Dear Christine, your test result is NEGATIVE: your GP can contact Douglas Hanly Moir Pathology for a copy of the result. Stay home until symptoms resolve; if concerned call your GP or book a phone consult with RFMP 96270600. (Do not reply to SMS)’
“Oh that’s such a relief, now we can all relax. I was quite worried for you.”
“So was I, but all’s well now.”
“I think we need to celebrate Chris. While I upgrade our dinner menu for tonight, why don’t you call Jason and see if he and Colleen can come over to join us. Also we’re a bit low on bubbly, so text your dad to pick up some on his way home.”
“No problem, then I’ll come and help you with the dinner.”
“Instead of that, why don’t you set the table with all our best glassware and crockery. I want it to be really special tonight.”
“Great, I love a party.”
“Damn I forgot someone.”
“You mean Gran?”
“Yes; on second thought, I better ring your father and sort that out.”
All arrangements and preparations were made and the whole family, except Daniel’s mother, sat down at seven pm. After all glasses were topped up Daniel proposed “I’m so glad to see you all here to help celebrate Chris’ medical results.”
“Here’s to Chris.” added Jason.
“But we’re not all here.” said Kevin. “Is Gran not allowed to go out because of her age and this Corona thing?’
Jason looked at his father, who was tearing up, and answered for him. “Ah, Gran doesn’t like going out at night Kev and the Corona thing as well.” As Kevin looked around the table he noticed blank faces and said “Is there something you’re all not telling me?”
Again, Jason sought to take the lead. “Kev, I’ve told you....” but Daniel interrupted “Kevin, there is something I haven’t told you; and that is your Gran and I had a disagreement last week and we’re not on close terms at present. It will blow over, but for now we are best to keep our distance from each other, even though I feel a bit guilty about it.”
“Is it about me?”
“Dan, you should tell him the whole story.” said Jenny.
While Daniel and Jenny explained to Kevin what had happened, he sat silently, listening intently. At the end, Daniel asked “Do you understand how I feel Kevin?”
“Sure Dad, but as you say, it will probably blow over. I wouldn’t like it if I couldn’t talk to my mum or give her a hug.”
“Kevin Covid, that was so nice of you to say.” Jenny replied.
“You’re welcome Mum. Oh, by the way, remember when you told me about my birth and I said the hug was only provisional?”
“Yes Kevin.” Jenny said hopefully.
“Well, I want to confirm the hug as being yours.”
“Kevin, sometimes you have a strange way of saying things, but you really are a great and loving son.”
“Now, that’s settled.” said Jenny “We have all talked about my mistake individually, but not as a family, so if anybody has any questions, now’s a good time to ask me. I don’t want anything to be unsaid or any question to be unanswered. We need to get through this as a family.
“I’m pretty happy with how I feel about it, Mum.” offered Jason.
“Me too” added Kevin.
“What about you Colleen? You’re as much a part of this family as anyone else.” asked Jenny.
“Well Mum Jenny, Jason has explained everything to me, but the only question I have is how we are going to deal with Gran. She’s been very good to Jason and me and we will continue to support her, but I know she’s hurting about the disagreement with you, Dad Dan. I hope I haven’t spoken out of turn.”
“Not at all Colleen, I appreciate your honesty.” replied Daniel. “I know I’m going to have to sort it out some day, and I will, but I don’t want it to cause any difficulty between you and Gran. I’m so pleased you were able to convince Mum not to evict you, Jason. I know we have put a great deal of responsibility on both of you, especially you Colleen. We all appreciate what you do for Mum, we really do.”
“Yes, let’s toast Colleen.” said Kevin, as he raised his glass and made a gesture towards his father that indicated it needed refilling.
“Only half a glass.” said his mother “To toast Colleen.”
“A full glass might loosen my tongue a bit more.”
“What do you mean; loosen your tongue about what?” asked Christine.
“Oh, certain information that you especially, may want to hear, or not.”
Jenny joined in “How about we hear this information first and then determine if it’s worth a full glass.”
“Oh, it’s worth at least that.”
“OK, but only so long as Chris promises to stay on her side of the table. Dad, make her promise.”
“I don’t know what you’re getting at Kevin, so either tell us or leave it. I don’t care which; just stop teasing your sister...and the rest of us for that matter.”
“All right then, listen up.”
I know, I know, but you’ll just have to wait till the next chapter.