Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  143 / 145 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 143 / 145 Next Page
Page Background



Mum tucked me into bed, eyes red and cheeks salty. I kept myself

awake for a while in the cosy warmth by scratching my irritated

bites and planning the night ahead of me. When the lights were

gone and all was still, I put on my jacket and shoes then grabbed my

torch to escape. I managed to reach the front door before I noticed

mum resigned in the kitchen, almost melted into the surroundings

behind her. An untouched glass water created a rim against the table.

“Where are you going?”

“No where.”

“Just tell me where you’re going Helen.” She didn’t seem angry at

all, more mildly curious.

“I just wanted to find Peter’s jewellery to give back to him.”

For a moment, she processed this, maybe thinking of a suitable

punishment or scolding words. If you’re going somewhere in life,

you might as well not go there alone, is what mum always used to

say. It was what she used again then.

We made our way silently into the middle of the tangle, leaves

and sticks gently crunching under our feet. I held my torch ahead

and mum held hers up, looking for the apparitions above. The bush

looked different in the obscured dark, the trees seemed larger,

enveloping us into a shadowy hug. It was cold and I was tired now,

ready to return to the comfort of my blanketed enclosure. But mum

tore on through the debris, calling out for something in the dark

and digging up holes with her hand-sized spade. After a while a

strange rustle followed by a large bang lulled us into silence. We

finally surrendered: back to the house only a few hours before dawn.

I woke up after that night in a surreal daze, unsure whether we

met Peter or not.

Months went by and dad started to grey and weaken. He had

developed liver disease, inhibiting his drinking escapades and

rendering him unable to work. Instead, he flopped about like a wet

fish, sullenly moaning and grumbling around the house.

Mum got a job working as a secretary at a local law office. She

couldn’t pick me up from school in our shabby blue station wagon

anymore, which meant I had to sit on a swarming school bus to

make my way home. Yet when mum was around the house she was

floating, positively lively. So I didn’t mind.

It was as though in dad’s pain and restriction, something was

gained in my mum.