Smile. Snap. 


‘Lovely,’ they all said, as her father-in-law finished the shot.


Her smile was still stuck to her face, as she walked back into the house and turned on the kettle.  She gripped the edge of the worktop.  It had been a tough Christmas.  All that goodwill to all men, yet she would be glad to walk out of the door and catch whatever bus would take her somewhere, anywhere but here.


Snap.  She had kept this  smile going for three days now and her facial muscles hurt.   It had helped her glide over her in-laws’ righteous authority on all things she held dear, whether political or domestic.   It had held its own when the children threw tantrums over presents not received or not up to par.  It had even assumed an air of indulgence when her husband entertained them with an afternoon of farts, following a long session at the pub with his dad.


Snap.  Happy families. That’s what that photo will say.  Christmas jumpers and funny hats, the tree visible through the front window.  


People will say things like: 


‘don't the kids like their Dad?

‘ Isn't his Dad doing well for his age?’ 

 ‘His Mum always dresses so well, doesn't she?’  

‘And his wife, hasn't she lost a lot of weight lately?’

 Ah, looks like they had a lovely Christmas, doesnt it?


Snap. The New Year.  Coats on for a cold snap.  Kids back at school.  Life returning to normal.  Snap.  Copies of photos in the post from the in-laws,  Snap.  Photos shared. Snap.  Husband looks for picture frames. Snap.  Think woman, think. Snap.  Check purse.  Phone friend.  Snap.  Get down suitcase.  Snap. Snap. Snap.

© Gaynor Kavanagh