My name is Felicity McLove and I am the meaning of happiness. No seriously, I’m not being arrogant, I looked up my name in the dictionary and it means ‘happiness’. It also means ‘an apt and pleasing feature of a work of literature’ but I tend not to tell people that part. Now that would be showing off. Hardly anyone uses my full name anyway, most people just call me Fel.
My surname, on the other hand, is not in the dictionary. In fact, at school when I type it on the computer it comes up with one of those red squiggly lines underneath and offers to find an alternative word. As if it shouldn’t exist. As if I shouldn’t exist. I’m always offended by that because Jazmine Jones’ full name comes up without fail when she types it (although her name’s not in the dictionary. Ha) and everyone wishes that she doesn’t exist. Only Jazmine wishes that I don’t exist, but that doesn’t count: she wishes that no one exists. If it was up to her, the world would be one empty place. Even emptier than the kitchen on days when mum cooks the food.
The word Jasmine, with a ‘s’ instead of ‘z’, is in the dictionary but relates to a shrub or climbing plant with sweet smelling flowers. No way is she sweet. Yet she is like a rose, appearing pretty harmless at first glance but with thorns as cold and unexpected as my mum’s lethal chicken. Exactly like my mum’s chicken actually…
One fateful winters night (actually it was mid-summer but a flashback like this needs a dark, dangerous atmosphere) my mum took the chicken she had just “cooked” out of the oven. I say “cooked” because she claimed it was cooked although she’d only shoved it in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
At 5-years-old, I was naïve enough to think that my mum could actually cook edible food. This deadly mistake almost caused me to collapse. No really, I’m not exaggerating, in fact ‘collapse’ is an understatement; I nearly died.
It turned out that mum had stuffed the chicken with the same ‘stuffing’ she found near a doll. I didn’t nearly die because the cotton chocked me, I nearly died of a heart attack at the shock of finding so much fungi in a chicken which we had only just bought from a fresh shelf in Tesco’s. My heart practically stopped beating at the thought that my science teacher had been teaching me wrong information on fungi for years. Pathetic? I know. “Oh Fel darling, it’s not Fungi, it’s stuffing. It said so on the packet,” my mum had reassured me when I explained my plans to sue the school.
“Then why is it all white and fluffy on the inside?” I had asked, more than a little confused.
That’s when Amara came downstairs sobbing that someone had stolen the stuffing for her new Make Kate doll. That’s when dad came thundering down the stairs after her, yelling that mum could have poisoned us all. That’s also when I stopped eating anything that had so much as touched my mum.
Therefore, I am genuinely thankful that Jazmine Jones isn’t the Prime Minster and my mum isn’t a world-famous chef. Otherwise everyone, everywhere, would be, um, dead.