Dad was working in the garden. He told me about his farm, how he had expanded it, how he had sold it. He looked much older now.
I told him my stories, he was interested. I asked about Mother.
Oh, she's still alive! (Should she not have been?) She is sitting on the sofa. She knows that you are coming. I did not have to tell her.
She knew everything, she always had done. Over the years I had worked out who she was.
Yes, he said, she knows everything, but I don't have to tell you that.
Let's go in and meet her and I'll make a big pot of tea.
She was sitting on the sofa. She did not move, she did not speak, but fires lit in her eyes. She looked younger than before.
Just sit at the table and help yourself. Your Mother will join us soon.
It was teatime, it was the teatime from my youth.
After a while Mother sat at the table. She spoke to me as if I had been away for a couple of days. Perhaps the time for her was so short. She was lively and spoke to me as she had spoken to me as a boy.
I can see that you have been wallpapering the duck pond again.
Which meant that I had been getting into trouble, which was true. She knew everything – orange cupcakes.
You may be wondering if I was happy to be back with my Mother?
You may be wondering if I was upset or angry to be back with my Mother? She talked to me as if I were still sixteen and had been away for just a week, although she knew everything – she had told Dad to buy the orange cupcakes that lay in a disgusting big pile on the table.
But no, there was a disconnect. She was not my Mother any more.