Difficult Conversation Depot

‘So, mum,’ I said nervously, showing her the plans. ‘What do you think?’

She frowned at them, standing over our dining room table.

‘I don’t understand,’ she finally said.

‘What don’t you understand?’

‘Why?’ she turned to me, frown deepening. ‘Why are you showing me this?’

‘I thought you’d like—’

‘Like what? Like my son telling me I can’t live by myself, so he’s going to build me a pity flat?’

‘It’s not pity,’ I rolled my eyes. ‘It’s concern.’

‘I’m not an idiot,’ she said, stamping her cane on the floorboards. ‘And I know why Laura isn’t here right now.’

‘Laura?’ I said, suddenly nervous. ‘No, she’s just out.’

‘Out?’ she arched an eyebrow.

‘Yes, out,’ I said defiantly. ‘Actually, she’s out for you, picking up some plumbing supplies from a store near Cheltenham.’

My mother snorted her disbelief but didn’t press the point.

‘Look, mum,’ I said with a sigh. ‘I’m worried about you, living by yourself in that building. The stairs alone—’

‘I’ve lived there for fifty–four years!’ she snapped. ‘I can look after myself!’

‘Can you?’ I pressed her. ‘Why were you late getting here today?’


‘Today,’ I repeated. ‘You were going to meet me here at ten, and you didn’t get here until noon. What happened?’

‘I got caught up,’ she said with a tight grin. ‘Getting some supplies from a hardware store in the Bayside area.’

I let the bard go, and sat back with another sigh.

‘You might not think you need help today,’ I said. ‘But one day you might change your mind. I just want to be ready for when that happens.’

‘You’re so certain I’m about to collapse,’ she glared daggers at me, tears forming in her eyes. ‘That I’m infirm, unable to look after myself. Why is it so hard to believe that I’m fine?’

‘Why were you late, mum?’ I whispered.

She shook her head and pressed a hand to her mouth, tears running down her cheeks.