Gorwing up, cleaning a sink to my Mum meant throwing a massive amount of Comet all over it and walking away indefinitely.
Later in the day, or maybe a few days on, after “bluing the sink,” she’d come out to the kitchen and find the sink gleaming and spotless.
She then would always smile at my Da, who would always smile back and say: “The Sink Fairy must have come.”
For many years, my mother believed that my father had scrubbed the sink. And vice-versa.
Of course, neither of them had done it. It was me, always. But it made them both happy, which made my life better, so I didn’t mind.
Then I moved away and it happened. The unthinkable. The sink remained unscrubbed! And the penny finally dropped.
My Mum got angry — for weeks. My father was merely amused. Friction built up in the marriage, for about a month — till my father finally got scrubbing.
I still think about this when I visit them, and find myself alone with the bluing in the sink. . . . Should I or shouldn’t I?
And then I think about my mother’s anger toward my father.
And then I think . . . should my mother really have been surprised Da hadn’t lifted a finger all those years? After all, she’d married a man who believed in fairies!