It's my life...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mother's Day

I didn’t ask Marz why there’s only me cos the answer rose up inside my head – pictures of old women knitting and dolls, naked and dismembered, lying on dirty sheets in back-street bedrooms. I hope I’m bloody wrong but I really don’t want to know for sure.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Call me (senti)mental but I bought Marz a bunch of daffs and a soppy card from Tapan and Binita’s, cooked her bacon and eggs and toast and orange juice and tea and took the flowers and everything in to her on the yellow tray. She laughed, said she reckoned I was going soft in the head, but it could’ve been worse.

Afterwards she got all dressed up as if she was going clubbing. I asked her if it was a good idea to go out when she’s still not better, but she trotted out her old line of Who the hell’s the mum around here and I bite back back before I can stop myself with Not you, that’s for sure and the door slams and she’s gone.

So I sit there all on my own wondering about Andy and if I should ring as he said to but something’s stopping me, so instead I go down to Tapan and Binita’s and we drink char and she shows me two new saris and says that if I want I can choose two of her old ones as her wardrobe’s getting full. And this starts me off thinking about Danny again, and how good it was when I went to the hospital all dressed up, so I ask Binita if we can do that again and she smiles and nods a lot and shows me the black hair dye she’s bought and points to my pale roots and we laugh.

And a couple of hours later there’s me in the street in a blue sari counting what’s in my purse and wondering if I should catch the train and surprise him, and then I’m at the station and on the train with the houses whizzing by and feeling sort of elegant and quiet behind the dark stage make-up that Binita had bought in case I wanted to be Indian again, remembering that I’ll have to say I’m Danny’s sister like before.

I’m really nervous as I walk up the drive to the hospital, hoping the receptionist won’t hear the blood banging in my head. But it’s easy this time, and in a minute I’m in the day room and Danny’s up out of his chair giving me a hug. He looks better than he did the last time, his eyes are quieter, less haunted somehow. And he talks, and I listen, and that’s so good, even if I had to change colour to make that happen, to find a way in. They bring us tea, and then the afternoon’s gone and it’s chucking out time, although the staff are more polite to me now I’m not Jazz and I smile and nod and hug Danny goodbye thinking that maybe being his sister’ll be enough.

I let myself in listening out in case Marz had come back, imagining what she’d say to see me in this get up, but it seemed she wasn’t home yet. I was tired, needed to lie down and rest, maybe even sleep, although it was barely eight o’clock. But my room seemed different, tidier somehow, and I stared around not knowing for a moment what’d changed before it hit me that all the dolls had gone. All seventeen of them and I couldn’t believe it and just stood there like a dork. I wandered though the place looking in the cupboards, the drawers, surprised to find that Marz had picked up all the stuff from the floor in her room and put it away, but still no sign of the dolls. What the hell had she done with them? It hit me then and I ran out to the dustbins at the side just in time to catch the old woman who lives next door shuffling up her steps with a bin bag. Course I’d forgotten that she wouldn’t recognise me in my Indian get up, and as I touch her arm and start talking about how the bag probably has my stuff in it she starts to yell all this stuff about thieving darkies and shout and scream as if she’s being mugged and I’m panicking and two kids across the street are looking and one’s getting out his mobile so I just grab the bag from her and leg it and it’s bloody tricky to run in a sari and I can hear her screaming blue murder behind me but I don’t stop or look around and I’m thinking that I can’t expect to get away dressed like this then all at once I’m outside Andy’s and ringing the bell.

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