Monday is Maths

Some diary sessions are longer than others, but the length has more to do with my mood than with what’s been going on. I met Gene Hackman once and wrote three hundred words about it. Six weeks later I watched a centipede attack and kill a worm and filled two pages. And I really like Gene Hackman.  – David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

At just past 8am, Jack went outside. A few moments later he rapped on the kitchen window.

‘The school bus is here,’ he hissed, pointing towards the road.

I smiled at his expression. We fell for that one last week.

‘That’s the wrong bus.’

At 8:31am I sent Lulu a message. It went like this: Loopy Lu – don’t forget to go to the Arts Centre after school. We’ll meet you there. Have a great day xxx

Lulu didn’t text back. A pretty wonderful day was spent hanging with Delph. Now, I don’t have any favouritism – haha! We played money counting games, did Computer Studies, Computer Studies homework, ate lunch, listened to Percy Jackson, read together and then did a bit more Maths.

3:15 came early. It was time to meet Lulu at the Arts Centre. This is where it all goes on in Aberystwyth. Dance, theatre, visual arts, the cinema.. with amazing views of Cardigan Bay. The sea that is, not cardigans. Easy mistake. Why would someone call a sea ‘cardigans’? Anyhow, set within Aberystwyth University, the Arts Centre has locals and students milling together with a globalised hillbilly ease. I can’t think of another way to describe it.

On the way to the car, I motioned to Delph. ‘Call Lulu. Tell her to meet us in the cafe.’

Lulu picked up. ‘Where are you Lu?’ Delph asked.

‘On the bus, coming home,’ Lu replied.

‘What?’ I screeched. ‘You didn’t see my message?’

‘You never sent me a message.’

’Yes I did! At 8:31.’

‘Hold on,’ Lulu said. Pause. ‘Oh yeah.’

‘You’re meeting Joe, remember? For maths tutoring. It’s Monday.’

The sound of scuffling took over. A few moments later, Lu’s voice came back on the phone. ‘Ok, I’m off the bus now. See you at the Arts Centre.’

Delph and I looked at each other. ‘Dimbo.’

’Weirdo,’ she agreed.

’Shall we go and find her?’ I asked.


We discovered her in the cafe. ‘I almost got hit by a car too,’ she said cheerfully.

Before I could have a maternally-based meltdown, the Arts Centre wrapped its familiarity around us. The view, the culture, the cafe atmosphere. Plus, Joe turned up. Third-year undergrad astro-physics student, Joe is my link to the university world. Plus he’s cheaper than Linda. That alone feels good.

‘Stop flirting with Joe,’ Lulu likes to say to me.

’I’m not!’ I reply, flicking my hair. Whhhat? Joe has long hair too. It’s like being in the long hair club.

I do like Joe a lot. He is just nice.. and good at maths. This is an undisputed win-win. I’ve discovered too that with Joe, the young learn best from other young people. He listens. Doesn’t patronise. Makes algebra as cool as it could possibly be. Algebra cool?

Joes has tutored Lulu in maths for well over a year now. Before she started seeing him, she was the easily frustrated, quick-to-give-up maths student. It was like looking in a time warp mirror. A year later, she’s just been put in Year 9 top set maths. Joe feels like our secret weapon. No way I am letting him go.

Because of this new, top set maths pressure, they did an extra-long session today. Joe recorded everything on OneNote, sharing it so she can later access the notes from her computer.

I paid him at the end and talked a bit. Degrees, Maths A level, planning Lulu’s future while she rolled her eyes and went to sit on a nearby chair.

‘I’m not sure Joe wanted to know about the PhD you were going to do,’ Lulu said as we walked to the car.

I flicked my hair self-consciously. The image of the mom in Mean Girls came at me. ‘I’m not just a mom, I’m a cool mom’. Dammit.

‘Whhhat?’ I said. ‘He looked interested.’

’I think he was being polite Mum.’

‘I’m glad you didn’t get hit by that car today Lu.’

Lulu grinned. Linked arms with me. ‘Me too.’







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