Joy had been fussy all day which had, as far as Mercy was concerned lowered the whole tone of shopping in the city center for holiday clothes. Tried from dealing with the four year old, Mercy decided to finish early and try again when she was alone.
Buying drinks and snacks, Mercy pushed Joy in her pram which was full of things she had brought, across the road to the large patches of grass that made up the ‘gardens’, though really it was just two rectangles of grass divided by a large sunk circle area where there was seating and water fountains.
Mercy found a good spot and give Joy the orange juice. It was a brilliant day; hot and sunny, with a cooling breezy and not a cloud in the sky. Mercy could almost believe that she was no longer in rainy England but in an hotter country. It was busy though and just as the shops had been crowed so was the street. There were people everywhere! The noise was like a constant loud humming.
Joy was fussing again, tugging at the straps holding her in the pram and making straining noises. Her juice forgotten but still clutch in a small hand. She was too big for the pushchair now but her habit of running off meant things had to be this way. Joy was a cute toddler but all ready spoiled by grandparents who had always believed they’d never get a grandchild. Mercy blamed them for the problems Joy often give her.
‘What is it now?’ Mercy asked.
Joy waved her free hand and give a little screech, ‘water!’
Mercy looked and saw that there were children playing in the fountains. Water jets were shooting up at different heights and seemingly at random in what would have been a nice display, if not for the children running about between them. As Mercy watched, she noticed some of the kids were only half clothed; wearing just shorts or underwear, some even had swimming costumes on.
‘No,’ Mercy said firmly, ‘drink your orange juice.’
‘Mama, mama!’ Joy cried and strained more at the straps halting her freedom.
‘Now you stop that,’ Mercy snapped and moved the pram around.
Joy threw the juice bottle away and tried to stand up in the pram.
Ignoring the watching eyes from the people around them, Mercy picked up the bottle, found it half empty and placed it into the pram. Then she put her hands to her daughter’s shoulders and eased her back down.
‘Now, listen, Joy, I said no,’ Mercy spoke in a low voice.
Joy’s face crumpled and fat tears began flowing. An awful wailing sound came out of the small mouth and more heads began turning to look.
Mercy gritted her teeth, getting ready for the rant that was about to happen.
‘You won’t get any sweets.’ Mercy snapped.
Joy screamed loudly and kicked out her legs madly out. Her hands pounded the straps and Mercy had to grab on to pram to stop it from falling over.
‘Fine, fine! You can go and play!’ Mercy half-shouted.
She released her daughter with a few clicks and Joy tumbled out of the pram.
Not dazed at all, Joy forgot her tantrum and stumbled off to the closest water fountain.
Mercy lowered her head, re-arranging stuff in the pram as if nothing had happened.
(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/05/21/weekly-writing-challenge-142 with thanks).