We found this photo of my mum. It was lurking under the bed and she came across it trying to find a photo of me as a child for some dreadful fund-raising thing we were doing at work. She looks really great I think – a bit of Munroe in there? So we rescued it from under the bed and it’s on our wall now (that’s why it’s a bit wobbly sorry because all our family photos are on the wall going upstairs and I had to risk life and limb leaning over a banister to get it) Mum has total recall of the day this was taken, at work (notice the typewriter she is leaning on) and it’s probably over 50 years ago. It makes her a bit wobbly looking at this because she was full of hopes and dreams in those days and she is not sure that too many of them came to pass. Although she produced me – how good can it get, I ask you? Still, she has seen a nasty divorce and the death of a child as well as her other child being seriously ill. It has not been a barrel of laughs. She is finding more contentment these days though. Settled in a flat near us, she like the area and is forging new friendships and although she is loath to admit it, is perhaps more settled than she has been for years. She still likes a moan and is robust in her criticism of nearly everyone (mainly me though) but in the main I think she is doing ok.
What she has never lost and what an inveterate conflict avoider like me has never had, is the ability to tell it how she sees it.
Mum (sitting on her settee with her chum)
I think Eileen and George (residents in her building) may have something going on
Yes indeed, I have seen them linking arms and the like. (Do not get involved in what “the like” could be – I find it best not to)
She’s a lot older than him – it’s a bit strange if you ask me
I knew her first husband you know, if he’d have had both his legs, he would have never have looked at her.
Me (interjecting to try desperately to inject some positivity into the conversation)
She’s a very handsome woman though
There then follows five seconds silence while Mum with furrowed eyebrows considers this.
Are we talking about the same woman?