I sighed as I saw her coming but decided to be polite. The school gate seemed a long way away. The was no way Marta wouldn’t see me walking up to the P&C meeting.
“Hi Marta. How were your holidays?”
She scowled. Not just a ‘shouldn’t-you-be-wearing-ballet-flats-not-strappy-sandals-with-those-white-capris’ kind of scowl. A full wrinkle causing, cosmetic enhancement specialist appointment inducing scowl.
“Horrible darling.” I don’t know why she insisted on calling me darling when she so clearly didn’t like me.
“Oh. I’m sorry.” I turned to walk into the hall but she continued on. I found myself praying that Linda or Caroline would be turning up to the meeting.
“Our renovations are ongoing. You know – with my lifestyle blog I must keep my home relevant. And since the Butler’s Pantry incident, well, there need to be adjustments.”
The last comment made me smile. It was comforting to think I was part of one of Marta’s most humiliating moments.
“What are you smiling at? Anyway, I couldn’t very well leave the trades to their own devices while I was Fijing. So we had to miss our planned vacation. It’s hardly a holiday without an actual holiday.”
“Couldn’t you just have gone somewhere down the coast for the long weekend? The trades don’t work then anyway do they?”
“What do you mean down South? There’s a South?”
“Yes Marta, the South Coast. Like the S on the compass. Snobsville isn’t the centre of the universe.”
“Of course I know that. But really the only reason to go West is if you go far enough to hit wine country. And the only reason to go South…well, I can’t think of a good one.”
She was taken aback at my boldness.
“It’s not just that dear. Tarquin really enjoys a change of nanny for a few weeks. It stimulates his active mind. And we can really only take one of his tutors with us, the villa gets a little cramped otherwise. Its a great way to expose him to another culture.”
I wasn’t sure how much culture Tarquin was exposed to in a six star resort.
“So it was a bit of an Un-holiday. Anyway, no need to feel sorry for me dear. I have a brand new addendum to the Butler’s Pantry and a new security system. Not to mention an update to Tarquin’s Lego room. So what did you do?”
“Well, Caroline and I took ourselves to the Southern Highlands – you know, the one near the S on the compass.”
She rolled her eyes at me and I relished the fact that she would be inwardly scolding herself for giving her cosmetic enhancement specialist more of her hard earned renovation fund.
I smiled, just a little. “There’s a new spa down there and we went for a bit of a refresh.”
“You know Marley, the holidays are a time for reviewing the term’s work. Given you haven’t opted for a fully qualified governess – one that can serve as a tutor – do you think it was wise to leave Luke and Layla alone with the Nanny?’
“Actually, Jason took the two weeks off. Well, he worked from home. And I’m pretty sure Layla doesn’t need tutoring. She’s just turned one.”
“Oh that’s the time to start darling! My Tarquin was reading by the age of two.”
“Why do two year olds need to read?”
Marta blinked at me. Caroline rounded the corner just in time.
“Marley darling! You look positively radiant dear. Must be the daily body scrub and hot stone massage from last week. Or it could be the yoga instructor. He was a dream, wasn’t he?”
It had been a relaxing week, though the purpose had been more to take my mind off Kristy-Lee’s sudden appearance and strange behaviour in my new community. It had been making me increasingly uncomfortable that my old and new worlds were colliding.
We shared a smile and I was glad, as always to have Caroline on my side. As we walked into the auditorium it occurred to me that I had just stood up for myself against the Snobbiest of all the Snobbies. I had nothing to worry about.