“How are you feeling now?” she said, as she sat on the bed beside him, soothing his head with a cool flannel.
“Not very well, Mummy.” He shifted around, uncomfortable in his sweaty pyjamas.
“What can I get you for your dinner?” she knew she had to get some food inside him. ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever.’ She remembered what her mother had told her.
“I don’t want anything. I’m NOT hungry.” Was ALL he said.
“You’ll have to have something. Build you up.” she got up and straightened her pinafore.
“That soup.” He shouted after her, as she disappeared into the kitchen.
He would eat something, for the first time in days. So she allowed herself a smile as she reached for the tin from the cupboard.
She knew that he would eat this, his favourite. The chip pan was already bubbling away and they would be ready soon.
“Would you like a few chips in it as well?” She didn’t wait for his affirmation, for she knew he would. She smiled again.
“What do you want for your lunch, love?” She shouted through to the study. He was up against the schedule and if she didn’t ask, he wouldn’t eat.
“I’ll just have some soup.” He called back.
She knew which one.
“Be ready in 5.” She let him know, with a smile on her face as she reached for the tin from the cupboard.
“No chips?” She asked, already knowing the answer.
“No! You know I don’t have chips with it any more.” He sounded frustrated, but it was all part of the game. She smiled again.
It was still his soul-food. He still ate it the same way as as he did in that sickbed 57 years ago, sipping the liquid all up first with a teaspoon, and then the chunks of potato and carrot and pea and bean at the end.
Nowadays she would give him 2 slices of cold buttered seeded batch toast, cut into soldiers.
However busy he was, he’d eat that alright. Even without the chips.