Time for Tea

Marjory opened the door a second after the first knock. Ruby stood on the step with her fist still raised for a second knock.

I saw you through the window. Just put some tea on the kettle, would you like a cup? Marjory said as she ushered Ruby into the house.

Ruby fiddled with her nose ring. No, I just ate, she said.

Oh, right. It is afternoon, isn’t it? Marjory checked her watch.

Yeah, Ruby replied as she started to walk down the hall at a brisk pace with her long legs.

Shoes, please! Marjory called after her as she hustled after as fast as her short legs could carry her.

Ruby stopped and glanced over her shoulder. Shoes? she asked.

Not in the house, please, Marjory smiled.

Ruby shrugged, then kicked off her jandals. They smacked into the opposite wall before settling on the floor.

Cheers, Marjory said.

Ruby said nothing. She continued down the hall into the sitting room and plopped into a chair by the window.

The kettle whistled from the kitchen. I’ll just get my cup and be right with you, Marjory said as she went through the doorway on the right. Ruby didn’t reply.

With her cup of tea in hand, Marjory entered the sitting room and sat down on the sofa. How is your mother doing? she asked.

Fine, Ruby replied.

And your studies? Are they going well?

Ruby picked at a piece of lint on her black leggings. Fine, she said.

Ah, good. Good. Your mother said you were studying engineering?

No, I switched majors. I’m doing communications now. Too much work, Ruby said. She pulled her phone out of her jacket pocket to check the time.

Ah, right. Right. Well good on you for giving it a go, Marjory said with a smile.

Yeah, right. Ruby stared at her feet as Marjory took a sip of her tea. So, Mum said you had some clothes you wanted to give to me, Ruby said.

Yes! I always planned to give them to my daughter, Marjory started to say as she set aside her tea and stood up. Well, that is not going to happen. Anywho, would you like to follow me? I have them laid out in the spare bedroom.

Ruby gave Marjory’s current attire of slippers, an old jumper, and grey slacks a significant glance. Why ain’t you just selling them at an op shop? she asked.

Marjory said, I thought you might like some dresses and business clothes. And you’re a uni student. Can’t say no to free things, eh?

Fine. Ruby rolled her eyes and followed Marjory to the spare room.

On the bed several dresses, pants, and blouses were laid out. Shoes were lined up neatly on the ground floor.

Feel free to take whatever you like. I don’t need any of it, Marjory said.

Ruby walked up to the bed and started sorting through the clothes. Huh, some of this stuff hasn’t gone off yet, she said. This is a nice blazer and cute matching skirt.

Marjory asked, Pardon me for saying, but your mother mentioned that you were having trouble finding a place to live. Something about problems with flat mates.

Right, I thought they were good cunts, but they bailed on the rent.

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that dear, Marjory said. I am sure things will look up. These things take time.

Maybe, Ruby agreed.

You know, your mother and I used to be the best of friends before she married your father, Marjory said as Ruby held a pair of pants up to her waist.

You didn’t like him either? Ruby said.

Marjory smiled. Why don’t you take your time looking through these. Feel free to try anything on. I have something to take care of in the kitchen.

Sweet as, Ruby said and tried on a jacket.

Marjory walked into the kitchen and set her house key on the table. She walked out the front door and climbed into her VW Beetle. She didn’t look in the rear view as took off down the road.


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