Laura Gavin

Photo Credit: Alexandria Brooke/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Persimony liked to joke that I’d do anything for her, because I was programmed to. And of course, she was right.

I’d been programmed to clear up the children’s toys, to sweep the kitchen floor every night, to haul the damp bundle of towels into the washing machine. I couldn’t have stopped myself from trundling out to the shed every Saturday to extract the lawnmower from its tangled bodyguard of rusted hedge-clippers and old bent rakes.

But there were other things I had no algorithm for. The slant of her neck as she towelled her hair dry, not bothering to close the bedroom door. The tender way she set a mug of tea down in front of her elderly father when she fetched him round to see his grandchildren. The snatches of light dancing in her eyes from the window, that in one ridiculous moment, I imagined were for me.

Then she’d pat me on the arm and tell me not to look so serious, I was meant to be a Cheery Home Companion, it said so on my box.

I didn’t know what the label on my box had said. I only knew how I felt.


Laura Gavin is based in Nottingham, UK. She works in charity communications by day and writes stories by night. She has a MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and once performed a short story at Edinburgh International Book Festival. Her (unpublished) novel was shortlisted for the Flash 500 Novel Opening competition in 2020. Email: lauradgavin[at]