The Mother

The Mother by Yvvette Edwards Read Free Book Online

Book: The Mother by Yvvette Edwards Read Free Book Online
Authors: Yvvette Edwards
questions, it is almost four thirty, and the judge adjourns the case until Monday morning at ten. Ms. Manley is the first to leave, snatching up her belongings, leaving the gallery swiftly without looking anyone in the eye. Though she is only a few seconds ahead of us, there is no sign of her in the corridor outside the gallery entrance. She obviously has the art of the clean getaway down pat. Perhaps I would also be an expert at leaving fast if I had raised my son to kill.
    The cameras of the media flash mutely from the other side of the street as we leave with Lorna. Nipa drops the two of us back at my house, where I hug her before she departs, for everything, picking me up, coming along, being a solid and uncomplicated support to my world. I let myself in throughthe side door that opens directly into the kitchen. It feels warm and smells of recently cooked food. It is almost six. I take my coat and Lorna’s out into the hallway to hang them up and shout up the stairs, “Lloydie? Lloydie!”
    On the mat inside the front door there are a few letters, which I leave, apart from one, obviously a card delivered by hand. I open it. On the front it says “Thinking of You.” It is from my neighbors, a very elderly couple who live next door, Rose and Dan. Ryan used to knock every evening to check if they needed anything. When he was younger, I used to remind him to knock, but as he got older, he took responsibility for remembering and popped around happily. With my mother in Montserrat and Lloydie’s father so disconnected from our lives, they were the closest thing Ryan had to grandparents and they loved him to bits. They cried like close family when they found out he’d been killed. They are in their eighties and I’m confident his death has taken years off the finite number they had left. Amongst the things I wish, I wish Tyson Manley could be made to meet them, to explain to them how best they might accommodate their grief. Presumably he is able to compartmentalize his life, to detach the death inside it from the living parts. I wish he could see the life he’s left me with, the way those two parts have been forged into one.
    I read the card. A simple hope for the strength we need to get through this. I feel a lump forming at the back of my throat. It is always these little things that undo me. I swallow and take the card back into the kitchen with me, put it up on the window ledge beside a photo of my son.
    Lorna is holding the raised lid of the doving pot in one hand and pops a piece of meat into her mouth with theother. She looks at me, closes her eyes. “Mmm . . .” she says, “that’s good.” Then, more of a statement than a question: “He’s not here?”
    I shake my head. Sit down. She goes to the cupboard, takes out two plates, opens the pots, and dishes up dinner for us both. I pull off my shoes, flex my toes, take off my scarf, cardigan, wig.
    â€œDifferent people deal with things differently,” she says.
    â€œHe’s not dealing with anything.”
    â€œThis is his way of coping.”
    â€œHe’s not coping.”
    â€œHe’s doing his best, Marce. Sometimes it’s hard to see but most people are just doing the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves in.”
    I wave a hand dismissively. “Give it a rest.”
    â€œDo you want me to put yours in the microwave? It’s kinda lukewarm. I’m happy to have mine like that, but I know you like your food nuked till it’s too hot and you have to blow and wait for it to cool down for two hours.”
    â€œYes, please,” I answer. She’s trying to fill the space with normal chatter, and I want to rise to it, to meet her partway, but it requires energy I cannot find. As she puts my plate into the microwave and her own onto the table and goes to collect cutlery for us both, I get up, take out an opened bottle of vodka, grab a couple of tumblers

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