Pretend – Short Story by Nette Hargreaves
I love my child. I love to write.
And just like real-life siblings, my two loves unfailingly rival for my time and attention.
As my days are filled with the adventures of an active pre-schooler, my literal and literary offspring can seem so incompatible that I wonder if they will ever get along. But maybe, just maybe, in amongst the child’s play, they are beginning to work it out?
“Hello? Yes, I’m fine, thank you.
Can we come play in the park this afternoon?
Yes, absolutely. We’ll see you there.”
“Hello? Oh, hi Daddy!
Yes, Sophie is fine. Yes, she misses you too.
I’ll give her your kisses.
“Hello? Ah, it’s your friend Layla.
You want to know if Sophie enjoyed your birthday present?
Yes, it’s lovely – she plays with it all the time.”
“Seriously Sophie? Don’t you want to play with something other than your toy phone? Your blocks perhaps, or your crayons? Or shall we go to the park?”
“Ok. But we’re going to have grown-up pretend conversations for a change…”
“Yes, it is she. The National Lottery?
My my, what a surprise! Especially considering that we don’t buy tickets. But never mind…
Yes, of course you may have my bank details for a deposit.
The press wants to know what I do for a living?
I’m a writer.”
“Hello? Condé Nast’s editorial department?
Yes, I’m absolutely free for a discussion about travel writing.
Please excuse the background noise – it’s just my daughter and my dog.
So you are looking for a feature on travel with kids in Queensland?
Yes, I could be leaving for a recce via Sydney next month.
Excellent, please send me your terms and conditions.”
“Hello? The New Yorker?
You liked my piece about the impact of technology on interpersonal communication?
Yes, the one I published on my blog.
Certainly, I can amend that to fit your publishing format.
Yes, I’ll take your email for an invoice.
“Hello, is this Sabrina Williams? Please don’t hang up.
Something funny happened on the line just now.
Anyway, the communications piece isn’t the one we’re interested in.
The one on gender stereotyping in young children, however, would fit right in with our December feature on early childhood education…
Hello? Mrs Williams?”