A young woman has lost her mother toç. She is my friends and she is bright and vivacious in a way that belies the psychiatric diagnosis that lurks beneath the surface. My friend was devoted to her mother, in old age at least. After years of bitter family infighting they had at last arrived at a form of rapprochement. They parted on good terms
Then she remembered the back handers that left her face momentarily claret coloured. Her mother took care never to leave bruises. She recalled the conversations she had had with her, unforeseen, curving, shifting, turning. You never could tell when she would snap, when she would reach out and push her over the precipice and then you would be falling, falling down some vast canyon. And still the blows reigned down like bits of masonry and falling stone. It was not a fair fight. She was far too small to retaliate. And then she would detach herself from reality. She would escape inwards, into a land with valleys and swelling rivers and the sharp peaks of mountains. A higher land of bent trees and shrunken shrubs. Then in her dream world the banks of the river burst and when she came round her mother would be grabbing her hair and slamming her head against the wall. And then she was well and truly back in reality once again. She could feel her fondness for her mother fading. There was a grotesque chasm between them. They would never be close again. And that made my friend’s heart feel like it was about to crack open.
But then we must never speak ill of the dead.