Stone soup

I go to school to collect them. I have stopped sniveling with “self pity” and am fully prepared to deal with the onslaught of recriminations that I am about to batter me.

“Hi!” I blurt to the first one. He looks at me, head on one side.
“Hey! You are still talkin dah funny. Open!” he commands. I obey. “You are not been fixed? No fries? No “fries” at dah restaurant?” His last few syllables head for the skies as he throws himself backwards in a rage against the unfairness of it all. This is timed perfectly to collide with the arrival of his brother. Although I have said nothing to this one, his brother's reaction is the only information he needs. The braces and elastics are still in place, which to them means, that we will not be going to a restaurant to celebrate my release from my “mouth corset.”

My daughter arrives to survey the scene. She glances at me, my tight lips and raised eye brows. “Oh no! It's not fair! You promised, you promised, you promised!” Everyone is wailing much too loudly for me to be able to make myself heard, let alone understood. I go into mime mode which affords me a little credence. Marcel Marco has nothing on me. I cheat and pull out a large piece of paper, and unroll it slowly. The “icons” and words map the solution.

I feel like Cinderella's Godfairy – ye shall go to the restaurant, where I shall slurp soup and be happy to have fulfilled my troth.

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