ArtView May 2015 - Page 22

shopping show, has set up a showroom in the place where we live. ‘And I wouldn’t have it any other way,’ Mum said once, firmly, in her end-of-discussion voice. ‘Don’t look at them as things. They are realised emotions: like relief, anger, sadness, gratitude. You are surrounded by thanks—a powerful thing to have about you.’ Yeah. And look at how it has protected her. I’m like that tablecloth, I’ve decided. A repeating pattern, embedded in plastic, frozen in place. Fully functional and easy-care, but so unlovely. It’s hell to keep clean, this home. Which is only home because my mother and I were together in it, and not even for long enough to catch breath. Just five lousy months, a record of brevity, even for us. Without Mum here tonight, our tiny apartment seems cavernous and strange, every grinning, dancing bear and ceramic clown wearing an air of darkling menace. I know I’ve waited long enough, but my hand hesitates over the handset, fearful that I’ve misread her absence as something more than it is. She might be making a special house call, which she has done before. Maybe she’s still stuck on a country train, somewhere, someplace without mobile coverage. It’s possible: she goes to those lengths to see something through, even though she can’t afford to care as much as she does. Mum hates fuss and attention; has 9 Lim_AstroDaughter_final.indd 9 4/06/2014 11:53 am