Sandra was already ten minutes late, and she knew that they couldn’t afford to pay the extra money to the childcare centre for being late. Fifty dollars per ten minutes. It was steep, and even though she knew it was only fair to the workers who would otherwise have to stay late, surely circumstances had to be taken into consideration?

It was the best childcare facility that she had heard of. All her friends had used it when they returned to work. Well, not Fiona, but Fiona’s husband refused to let her return to work. He had to provide for them, Fiona would announce with a mock sigh. Dinosaur! They’d cry in reply. What about feminism? It’s like the sixties never happened! What about your career? Secretly, Sandra dreamed of being married to a dinosaur and not having to work. But only sometimes.

She did an illegal u-turn and parked halfway in a disabled park, running up to the doorway, already apologising to the stern-faced childcare worker.

After groveling for a few minutes and making outlandish excuses, she’d take Catherine by the hand and march her to the car. Her anger at the traffic and the childcare centre’s policy and her own ability to keep track of the time would be taken out on the slightest thing her daughter did wrong. She knew it. She hated doing it, but she knew she would.

As she drove off, her phone rang. It was her husband. She threw the phone on the passenger seat and looked at her daughter in the mirror. Tomorrow she would definitely be on time.


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