• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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The Bed Chase

“She stabbed the cleaning lady so I had to take the fork off her.”
   “Not hard. She blamed her for breaking the plate.”
   “And did she? Break the plate?”
   “I don’t think so, but I’m putting the knives and forks away. We’ll stick to spoons.”
   My father looks me full in the face. He looks ashamed. So this is old age. This is the shit that happens.
   Mum won’t meet my eyes. She’s not ageing well. Not a 21st century, trimmed grey hair, licence fee paid for, free bus pass, full pension, glucosamine tablets and a cruise booked for summer type of ageing. Her grip on reality is twisted and everything else is stiff, unbending, angular. Rigid fused spine, stiff neck, right hand locked inwards at ninety degrees where she broke her wrist and the doctors didn’t do a good job setting it - why bother with the demented ones when there’s so many young sane people in the waiting room.
   My mother is now sullen, fiddling with a lock of unwashed grey hair escaping from her ponytail, wanting to row with her husband but already forgetting why she is angry. My father holds onto the fork with white knuckles.
   I need to erase this ridiculous moment in time. Because moments become memories and I don’t want this one. I say: “Mum, remember how we would make make the beds together in the morning when I was little, before we got the duvets? How we stood opposite each other and pulled up the sheet to meet the pillows then we’d race round to the other side and whoever pulled up the eiderdown up first was the winner.”
   I say: “Mum remember when we did the bed chase?”
   But she won’t look at me.