Family Lies Chapter 6: Watercolour

Drawing of a partly-built brick wall with a sign saying: "Under construction." Caption reads: "Work in progress."

Family Lies Chapter 6: Watercolour chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

Kym, a professional artist, had brought watercolours and paper to paint with Elsie.

When Emily had cleaned up the broken window glass, she’d found them at the dining room table, with a canvas drop sheet over the table and art supplies spread out.

“Do you want to paint with us, Mum?” Kym asked.

Emily sat down at the table, and Kym handed her a sheet of paper. She looked over at Kym’s work.  “Children’s book?” she asked.

“Yeah.  Just recently got it.  The author has a cute story.  I hope I’m doing it justice.’ She was adding the finishing touches to a purple elephant holding a bunch of roses in its trunk.

“It’s adorable. Kids will love it.” Emily said.

“What did the police say after I came back to Grandma?” Kym asked.

“The police?” Elsie responded. “Oh they were looking for Henry.”

“We meant the police who were here.  They were trying to find out who threw the rock through the window.”

“Oh that was the girl’s father,” Elsie said. 

“What? What girl’s father threw the rock.”

“Oh yes, he threw rocks through the windows and yelled for Henry to go out and face him.  Henry didn’t go out of course.  He said we’d just wait for the man to sober up and go away.”

“And did he sober up and go away?” Kym asked.

“Well he went away when the police came.  I think the neighbours called.  He must have sobered up eventually.”

“Why was he throwing rocks and yelling?” Emily asked. Like her daughter, she was intrigued by this snippet of family history.

“Because he was the girl’s father.  You can’t go around treating girls like that and think their fathers won’t get angry.”

“Treating girls like what? Was he having an affair?”

“What’s your name, dear?” Elsie asked.

“I’m Emily, and this is my daughter Kym.”

“How strange!  My daughter’s Emily, and her little baby’s named Kym.”

“Yes, total coincidence,” Kym answered. “Tell us more about Henry and the girl.”

“Henry?  Oh Henry’s gone now.  He went away.”

“Do you know where he went?” Emily asked.

“Who are you, dear?” Elsie asked.

“I think you might be getting tired,” Emily said.

“Oh yes, I am very tired,” Elsie said.

“Let’s get you to bed then,” Kym said.  Kym helped Elsie from the dining chair to a wheelchair, and wheeled her to her bedroom, then put her to bed.

Emily made coffee for herself and Kym.

“I wonder if your father was having an affair,” Kym said.  “Maybe that’s why he disappeared. He went off with this girl Grandma was talking about.”

“I guess it’s possible,” Emily said.  “I mean, Mum never told me any reason why he left.  He was never there during my childhood, and Mum always just said he’d gone away.”

“I wonder if she actually knew where he was.”

“She never said so if she did.”

“Mum, you look tired.  You should go for a nap while Grandma’s asleep.”

“The glazier’s coming.”

“I’ll take care of the glazier.  You get some rest.”

“It seems so selfish, having a nap and leaving you to deal with things.”


“Your father says I am.”

“When you won that money, the first thing you did was give ten million each to Allanah, Jody and me, and told us to follow our dreams.  Then you said if our dreams cost more than that to come back for more.  You give half your income away to charity.  You aren’t well enough to look after Grandma, but you do, because she told you she would never want to go to a nursing home.  You pay your staff probably twice what they’d be paid anywhere else.  You pay for Allanah’s and Jody’s kids’ education, and their out of school activities.  No Mum, you aren’t selfish. You’re the lest selfish person I know.  Now go and get some rest.  I’ll deal with the glazier, and I’ll cook dinner.”

Emily went for a nap, and dreamed once more of a faceless lurking figure who wanted something from her.

Chapters of Family Lies

Note, this is the first draft. What eventually is published as a book (if it is published as a book), will be edited, rewritten, and re-edited, and may not have much in common with this first draft.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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