And then, just when I was beginning to feel quite, quite normal and cheerful again – having long chats with friends about their lives, and also talking about my dissertation and going out for dinner and which films to go see in the next week – my mother called last night.
Naturally, Mum wanted to know how I was. I said, with absolute truth, that physically I felt fine. Yes, I had gone back to work already. I was keeping busy. But emotionally? Mum wanted to know.
May: Oh, you know, I still feel sad from time to time…
Mum: [Interrupting] Well, you know, I think the BEST thing you can do, to get over it, is to not think about it so much. You need to be optimistic and look forward now. You mustn’t dwell on it all the time. [May tries feebly to interject here and remind her mother that she has JUST SAID she has gone back to work and it keeping busy] Try to put it out of your mind and move on….
[At this point May holds the telephone away from her head and glares at it]
… And if you’re thinking positively, good things will happen. You need to create the positive space in your life for good things to happen in, and you can’t do that if you’re DWELLING on it…
[May holds phone away from her ear again and waits, patiently, for the distant scratching of her mother’s voice to stop].
Mum: [Launches into very long discussion of the various complications involved in planning the Big Family Shindig next weekend. As at any given moment at least four family members are not on speaking terms with three people each, and bestest buddies ever with another two, who, naturally, are in turn bestest buddies with at least one unspeakable – and to think I assumed Venn diagrams were a pointless waste of time and effort when I was at school – this conversation took quite some time. This allowed a thankful May to concentrate on inter-generational politics and not on reasons why her mother annoys the living crap out of her sometimes].
May: [Eventually] By the way, Mum, is anything the matter with either Trouble or Diva?
May: Well, I haven’t heard from either of them since before my birthday, and I thought it was a little odd, considering it was my birthday, and then me being pregnant and then miscarrying [Note May’s refusal to beat about the bush or use the favourite family euphemisms of ‘when that thing happened’ or ‘you know, the other week’].
May: You did tell them, didn’t you?
Mum: Oh, yes, I think so. Yes, I’m sure I did. Diva has asked my for your phone number several times since.
May: [Laughing] Well, I’ll give her one point for good intentions then.
Mum: [Insert long and very dreary account of Trouble’s splitting up with her boyfriend-who-is-also-her-boss (yes, I KNOW) in order to move back in with her ex-husband Fucktard, and then Fucktard, instead of being the reformed character he had lead us all to assume he was, followed Trouble to work, saw her having lunch with said boss, and insisted on joining them and then creating a jealous scene, so Trouble is very cross and not wanting to live with Fucktard any more].
Mum: Well, I don’t know what to make of Trouble any more. She’s hasn’t really talked to me or anyone else all week.
May: All week? So this kicked off AFTER…
Mum: [Interrupting] I never know what Trouble’s thinking.
May drops the subject.