Her lips are sealed but I can hear her voice.
Bugger you! Look at you, with your rolling eyes and arse-pokey lips, thinking I’m too stupid to know what’s coming — how I did a sinful thing so you must take my baby. Poor you, the burden on your morning, have a biscuit with your sigh. Thank God you’re never wrong, eh? Well, bugger you.
They didn’t lock her up, nor take her baby. Instead my mum was born and raised within the family, edged from household into married household until Grandad arrived and Mum could land Granny’s nest.
Granny’s laugh, Can’t believe what came out o’ my own mouth, that day…
Now Mum, who doesn’t know her own beginnings, sees Granny sucking biscuity teeth while her shrunken hands pluck, pluck, pluck at her blanket.
“Mother, you need help. St Mary’s have a room.” A sitting‑circle of old folk with their heads on one side, bags of pee bulging at their knees.
I wait for Granny’s reply, bugger that... or for Mum to say we’ll visit every Sunday.
Granny sits, wheezing crumbs. Age has done what no man could; she is placid, “Eh?”
I stare at Granny, wondering where my words came from… wondering if she even heard? Mum gapes… and Granny turns.
Her eyes bore into mine, as if examining a mirror, and her lips part in a gurgling, thunderous laugh.