“Mother…isn’t quite herself today”

“Do you want me to come and stay with you tomorrow night, sweetie pie?” Mum says over the phone. We have an arrangement early the following morning.
“Certainly not,” I say. “I have a date tomorrow night. Can’t have my elderly mother creeping around the flat: I’m not running the Bates Motel. You can turn up in the morning and…”
“OK sweetie pie,” Mum says. “So you’re coming to see us tomorrow for your plastic surgeon and then going back to your flat and…”
“Date. Tomorrow night,” I repeat. “Haven’t had one for ages and the blog does rather depend on them and…”
“Is he going to pick you up from the flat?” Mum says. “In my day the young man always picked me up in his sports car and…”
“No, I’m meeting him at the pub so…”
“So it doesn’t matter whether I’m there or…”
“No,” I say. “You’re not staying at the flat tomorrow night.” There is no way that I’m coming home to Mum twitching the curtains, and then being forced to give her a blow-by-blow account of the date, where she points out what I should have said or done.
“OK,” Mum says. “You know they might want to drain some more fluid from around the implant and…”
“Yes, I know,” I say. “As long as they don’t take my implant out and…”
“How is it feeling?” Mum says.
“It looks less red. Feels a bit better. Oh, I’ve run out of codeine. Have you got any left or…”
“If it’s feeling a bit better you’re not having any more codeine,” Mum says in her teacher voice. “Codeine is for severe pain and…”
“I’m still in pain,” I say. I’m never allowed any fun: anything I like is taken away from me. “I’m only not in severe pain because of the codeine and…”
“No,” Mum says. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”
“How’s my kitten?” I say.
“Your father sent an email to all the neighbours to tell them to check under their cars for an orange kitten,” Mum says. He’s developed this dangerous and worrying new habit of resting under cars.
“Is he still alive today? Have you seen him?” I say, fear suddenly clutching at my chest.
“Yes, he’s out in the garden,” Mum says and I breathe again. “See you tomorrow darling,” she says.
“Bye Mum,” I say.

There are a few boy pots on the boil, but tomorrow night will be the first actual date. Today is for resting and tomorrow is for resting. Suzie is staying for a couple of days. We are going to spend time in the Nest and have supper together and hopefully by tomorrow I will be well enough for the Date…


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