Tell about a character that lost something important to him/her
I sit at the table watching her potter about the kitchen. She seems like her normal self, nattering away to me like she didn’t have a care in the world.
‘Tina next door, her daughter got married last week. She showed me the photos, she looked absolutely gorgeous. She wore a white dress.’
I smile at the emphasis she put on the word ‘white.’ I know Mam’s thoughts on Tina’s daughter and white definitely wasn’t a colour she would put her in.
‘Deb said she’d be coming for coffee tomorrow, do you think I should make something? Some biscuits or cake or something?’
‘I’m sure Deb won’t mind just having some Jaffa Cakes, Mam, don’t stress yourself.’
She leaves the sponge she had been using to wipe down the counter at the side of the sink and starts putting away the dirty dishes from the draining board.
‘Are you sure you don’t want a hand?’ I ask, watching her pile the plates into a precarious pile in the cupboard.
‘I’m fine, love. Sure I only have to wipe the counter and I’m done.’
She puts the last plate away and picks up the sponge from the side of the sink.
‘Mam,’ I say, ‘I don’t think you need to do that.’
All the pamphlets say to try not to confuse her too much if she forgets something.
‘It’ll only take a minute, love.’
I sigh, not sure if there’s any point in arguing. Sometimes I just wish I could shake her, make her realise things. I know there’s nothing she can do, it’s not her fault. But it makes me angry sometimes. Angry at her for not listening, for not understanding, for not trying to push past the confusion. But I know that’s not fair, so I get angry at myself, at the doctors for not being able to do anything, at the disease for taking my mother away from me, bit by bit. Just a little more every day.
‘Don’t you sigh at me like that.’
I look up at her. She has turned towards me, the motherly glow in her eyes gone and replaced with a harsh glare.
‘I told you never to come back here,’ she continues.
‘You promised me you’d leave, Laura. You weren’t supposed to come back.’
Granny used to tell me how much I looked like my aunt Laura. Mam rarely talks about her, but recently she has been mentioning her in passing. I’m not sure she realises herself when she does it.
‘Dylan tell her to leave, she can’t be here.’
Mam looks at the table behind me. I follow her gaze to my Dad’s chair, the one he used to sit on every day for dinner. Since he died no one really dared sit there, for fear of upsetting Mam.
‘Mam, Dad’s not here. Neither is Laura.’ The doctor had warned me that she might have some hallucinations. The first time it happened I was so scared, I didn’t have a clue what to do or say to calm her down. But I’m more used to it now. I stand up and put my hand on her shoulder but she flinches and pulls away. She looks me straight in the eye.
‘You’ll ruin everything. Just like you always do. Dylan make her leave.’
‘Mam, it’s me, Katie. Laura’s not here.’
Her eyes waver slightly. I can tell she is trying to understand what I’m saying. Her hand shakes as she holds it up to my face and she starts to cry. Just one tear at first, rolling down her cheek and falling onto her collar. She starts trembling. Tears fall from her eyes uncontrollably and she leans into me. All I can do is hold her.