• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 02
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My mother terrified me. She was fragile, as every good woman should be, but impenetrable, never raising her voice or losing her purse. She was too clean to smell of anything, and when, on the rare occasion I’d manage to touch her (which, she hated) she was neither hot nor cold. She always looked the same, immaculate and weightless as if she might shiver in the wind. But I never saw her shiver or sweat – she was man-made with thermal ventilating vests, 100% cashmere, lined boots and hairspray. She was built to last. She cut the air in any room and would cut you too as only paper can, a searing shock that would prick your eyes but draw no blood, the most elegant of wounds.

She required nothing of me and that was where my fascination lived. The silent awe. I liked to examine her when she was busy, unpick the separate parts that made up the whole, those secret seams that kept her, day after day, so neatly stuck together. And yet, it seemed, the harder I looked, the less I saw. She would disappear before me and I’d retreat unsatisfied with the conclusion, ‘uninterestingly unnatural’. As a teenager, I hated her for this. I thought it nothing more than a cheap trick but now I see it was magic. Or witchcraft. She made herself her own illusion and made the unnoticeable, the ignorable, invisible housewife the only thing you could look at.