Bill made good progress on clearing out the garage. Along with the old camping stuff, lawn mower and whipper snipper, he tossed a rusted old electric chainsaw and a stack of spare bathroom tiles from before they renovated that bathroom. For some reason he kept finding fishing magazines in boxes, in bags and in drawers.
He kept his promise not to throw out anything of Kat’s, but that made his work difficult as he had to keep moving her things out of the way so he could get to his.
He came across 3 large crates full of Kylie’s old school papers. Thirteen years of drawings, projects, binders, essays, and spelling tests had been carefully packed into those crates. He got on the phone to Kylie and made a suggestion.
“Why don’t you come over and help me clear out the garage? I’ve found some of your things. If you don’t want them, they can go in the skip. And besides, your mum would love to see you.”
“Ok, I’ll bring Tiffany too. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
Kat was thrilled when Bill gave her the news that the girls were coming to visit. She missed her family since they moved to the country. Bill left out the part about clearing out the garage though.
The next morning, Kat was up early. She decided to mark the special occasion by baking a cake. There was recipe in a magazine she’d been meaning to try.
“Where did I put that magazine? I remember reading it in the lounge room.”
Kat turned the oven on to preheat while she searched for the magazine in the lounge room. It took a while, but finally she found it on one of the dining chairs. She sat down and hunted through the pages for the Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe she’d spotted. This was perfect. Three lemons, the recipe said.
She went outside to pick fresh lemons from her tree in the back yard and saw Bill still pottering away in the garage. Then she noticed the three crates with Kylie’s school memories.
“What are you doing with those?”, she asked.
“Don’t worry, I’m not touching them. But Kylie’s going to look through them.”
Kat felt a strange stirring in her stomach. She wasn’t quite sure what that meant. But for now she had a cake to bake.
As she headed back inside, Kat became aware of a strange odour which grew stronger as she entered the kitchen. In fact, it stung her eyes.
Kat ran to the oven and opened the door. Black smoke billowed out and filled the room. She couldn’t understand what could possibly have caused this. And then she saw it. The carboard box with medicines from the stovetop that she’d tidied up to make Bills’ special breakfast. That’s where she’d stashed it!
The stench made her cough and cough. She ran out the back door again, desperate for fresh air. Her eyes were streaming. Was it the acrid smell or her frustration about the whole situation? There’d be no perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake now.
“Hello Grandma!” Tiffany ran to give Kat a hug but stopped short when she saw the state Kat was in.
Kylie looked concerned but did follow through with the much-needed hug. “What’s going on, Mum?”
So, Kat told them the sad story of the perfect cake, the hopes for a special afternoon tea and finding the missing medicines burned in the oven. And they hugged again.
Kylie took matters into her own hands. “It’s ok. We can still have a special afternoon. I’ll go to the bakery and get us some treats. Then we’ll sit down and reminisce over these old school papers. We’ve missed you. Why didn’t you come to see us with Dad and the caravan?”
Kat had no answer to that.
There was no way they could eat inside, the smell and smoke still lingered. Bill got busy. He retrieved the burned box from the oven, opened the front and back doors to let some air in, and brought a folding table and three chairs out of his caravan for their afternoon tea. He placed them on the grass right by the lemon tree. Then he carried the three crates of schoolwork over and placed them next to the table as well.
Meanwhile, Tiffany sat with her Grandma, chatting about fishing with Grandad, while her mother drove to the bakery.
Kylie returned with four lovely cupcakes piled high with pink icing. Bill was pleased, but said he’d save his for after dinner. He wanted to keep working in the garage. The “girls” could have some time alone while they reminisced about school days.
And they did just that. At first Tiffany thought it was boring but eventually joined in the fun, laughing at her mother’s spelling mistakes and big round writing. Kylie flicked quickly through most of the projects but occasionally stopped to share a memory or a funny story. Kat grinned broadly, happy to have her family together and sharing this special moment.
As Kylie worked her way through the piles of papers, she selected a few and set them aside. By the time they got to the bottom of the third crate, the sun was starting to dip and Kylie had selected a small pile of papers. She used of the school binders to hold her collection and declared she was done.
“Dad!” she called to Bill, “I’ve got what I need. Thanks! This was a good idea. Mum, it was great to see you. Please come visit us next time. I’ve got to head off before it gets too dark. It’s a long drive.”
They all said their final goodbyes and hugged their last hugs. Bill and Kat stood by the kerb waving until the car disappeared from sight.
As they turned back toward the house, Bill said, “I’ll just put those crates in the skip before I come inside.”
“Oh no you won’t!” Kat replied.
“But Kylie took what she wants. She doesn’t need the rest.”
“Bill, I’ve just had the most perfect day ever. And it’s because I saved those school memories. Besides, if I throw them out, Kylie will regret it one day, and then she’ll blame me.”
Kat stomped off into the house where the smell still lingered and reminded her of perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake.
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here…