‘Mum, can we go now?’ Samuel groaned, tugging his mum’s Gillet as she perused a selection of begonias.
‘Almost, darling.’ She read a tag.
Samuel rolled his eyes and watched a man who looked like a goat fill his trolley with spiky plants. There were plants everywhere, and everyone thought the world of them! His mum thought more highly of them than her own son. What could a plant do that he couldn’t? Talk back maybe.
‘Mum, it’s been hours,’ he tried again.
‘Samuel, please,’ she snipped like a pair of pruning shears. ‘Excuse me!’ she called over to an assistant to talk through the begonias who had become her best friends.
Samuel had had enough. He wandered past the planters, the climbers, the man who looked like a goat, and strolled inside where there might be something more fascinating than begonias. Boring clothes, calendars just as boring, loads of soap and hand cream.
Then he spotted the kid’s section. Trains, books, instruments, mosaics, build-your-own birdhouse. He could peruse this selection for two hours. After perusing it for ten minutes, he found his toy fire engine in his pocket, imagined the pile of grown-up books was a wildfire, and set about saving the world. But before he could put an end to the desolation of the planet, there was a mighty gasp.
‘Samuel!’ His mum cried, as though she’d just saved him from a wildfire in the nick of time. She squeezed him so tightly, if he was an orange, he’d produce a pint of juice. ‘You can’t run off like that. I was so worried!’
Samuel frowned, wondering whether it was the begonias she was more worried about. His mum closed her eyes and when they opened, Samuel could see his reflection.
She thanked the assistant who was helping her earlier and took hold of Samuel’s hand. ‘Let’s go to the park where you can run around safely. How does that sound?’
Her mouth crinkled into a smile. ‘No begonias.’