- Vol. 06
- Chapter 04
I got in from work around three o’clock to find the house lonely. I called ‘Mum’ up the stairs knowing already she wasn’t home, could tell from the way the carpets and wallpaper seemed pale, drained of all their colour, like houses always do without a mother, right?
I pottered around, brewed some tea and took it through to the living-room, reclining on the sofa to make light work of the biscuit-tin. Digestives. Rich Tea. Mum never entertained a sexy biscuit, something about rationing, a boyfriend with false-teeth at seventeen.
Starving, I sat a while wet-fingering crumbs from the bottom of the barrel, dead-eyeing the clock and wondering where she’d got to. What did she have to do in the middle of the afternoon that was so important? There was only the two of us, and she didn’t work, except Saturday mornings. Grandma was dead and Mum had no friends, or none she’d ever visit anyway. Times like this Mum really pissed me off. She was nearly sixty, and what had she done with her life? Nothing. After Dad left she’d forged no career, enjoyed no further romance, nor even a holiday. She mostly seems to fold underclothes and wipe surfaces. All those years, she’s done nothing.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I’m not saying Mum hasn’t always done her best for us, she has (my sister buggered off at barely nineteen, but then she never was loyal, not like me, thirty in a month and still here - for Mum). When we were kids Mum would spend her last penny making sure we’d new school uniforms every year, plus whatever toys were necessary to avoid our appearing left-out, although the peasants’ apartheid of the Free School Meals queue soon cancelled-out any kudos Action Man could bestow, even one with ‘gripping hands’.
Yes, Mum kept our family together. Mum IS our family, but… Well, I mean, just what the fuck has she done with her life, really? All those years wasted! Why didn’t she do something? Anything. I get so angry for her, for the way she’s been battered by this bastard life. She’s had it rough all the way, but will she ever complain?
In my fury I lit one of her cigarettes, smoked it in about six drags. Then I lit another but felt so guilty, it being her only pleasure, that I had to take a tenner out of her savings-tin to buy her some more.
I opened a beer and flicked on the TV. An angry looking political demonstration was kicking off in London, threatening faces and shouty banners, bottles raining on coppers. And then there she was - Mum! On the News, in her best coat and too much make-up, nose-to-nose with an armed-policeman. It was funny at first, but then the severity – the impending danger - of the situation sank in. I went cold. I realised that if Mum didn’t move quickly, I would be forced to make my own dinner.