Squint. Squint. Narrowed eyes.
“Why are you wearing a balaclava girl?”
“It’s part of my performance Nan.”
“What were you performing? A robbery?”
“Is this what she did at University?”
“I’m right here Grandad, you can talk to me you know.”
“Is this what she’s spending your heard-earned money on Frank? Fannying around all day in a balaclava?”
Teeth grinding. Oh the grinding.
“The government pay the tuition fees Dad”
An ‘I’ve helped’ smile.
“Oh, so she’s wasting our taxes on this nonsense?”
“You can’t tell me this is what you want for your granddaughter Rose.”
Swift subject change.
“What were you listening to darling?”
“Who what?” Dissatisfied huff. “Sounds like a drain cleaner if you ask me.”
“You’re thinking of Toilet Duck darling.”
Narrowed blue eyes, sharp as ever.
“What’s the name of this course?”
Effort to unclench teeth.
“It’s a degree course Grandad.” Deep breath. “Contemporary Performance Art.”
“Pile of shit if you ask me.”
“That being said, mind that lass who carried a chair about with her for a week?”
The amused snort of a betrayor.
“It was her final exam Grandad.”
“She was tested on whether she could carry a chair around?”
“Like I said, pile of shit.”
“I’m glad you feel that way Grandad.”
Suspicious glares all round.
“I’ve decided to drop out.”
Three pairs of shocked eyes matching three blind-sided expressions.
“Well that’s just typical of your side Frank.”
Slow blinking confusion.
“Teaching the child nonsense when you should be teaching her about finishing what she’s started.”
Whiplash at the 180 degree turnaround.
“My fault Dad? She changes her mind and it’s my fault?”
“Children are a reflection of their parents Frank.”
“I am sitting right here Grandad.”
“Don’t know you’re born child. When I was young you got an apprenticeship and trained for an actual job. Nowadays you flit around all dressed like a housewife turned terrorist and call it an education.” Mean twinkle in the eye. “You should have teamed up with the other lass – at least you would’ve had a seat.”
“Leave her alone Jim, she’s young.” Kind smile. Unexpected back-up? “She has years ahead of her to start acting like a grown-up and get into a proper career.”
“So what are you going to do now young lady?”
Stern Daddy tone.
“I thought I’d move to Iceland and become a goat-herder Daddy.”