70. The Matriarchy

And I’m back to living with my mother.

Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. She’s here for 2 weeks because the lifts in her building are being repaired and her legs shiver like blancmange when she tries to climb the stairs. My stairs are nice and short. You can cover them in one drunken lurch – perfect for wobbly legs (and heads).

So, it’s fine, although part of me is a bit nervous about her being here. I don’t want her snooping in my things. She’s a bit snoopy. When I was younger she adopted the silent ninja approach to parenting. She’d find something incriminating (fags) and then instead of saying something she’d leave an NHS Stop Smoking leaflet on my bed like a fucking bomb. It was terrifying. What will she leave next? When I hit puberty she didn’t say a word: just left a book on my desk called ‘What’s happening to my body?’ with devastating pictures of wombs.

So, I’m a bit nervous about snooping and I’m a bit nervous in case she’s…finicky.

A couple of days before she arrives she sends me an email with some things to pick up in the supermarket: “This will cover me for the first 2 days before my online shopping arrives,” she writes. On the day of her arrival, I dutifully head to the supermarket and buy 2 apples, 2 pears, a punnet of strawberries, 2 oranges and a punnet of grapes for a woman the size of a hairpin. Later I see her pluck half a brown apple out of her handbag. I make a mental note:

Obsessive overeater of fruit.

When I arrive at her flat to pick her up she’s surrounded by a suitcase and 8 full plastic bags ready for me to carry downstairs. God, what is all this stuff? She’s like a tiny, white Berber.

I peer into one of the plastic bags and find 5 half empty bottles of sparkling water:

“This is really fun for me,” I say, pointing at the bottles.

In another bag is an A-Z of London, even though my mum doesn’t drive anymore.

“What’s this for?”

“Sometimes, when I’m reading a book it mentions the name of the town and I like to look it up.”

Hasn’t heard of the internet.

She’s packed a torch, a digital radio and an incredible array of socks.

“Why have you got so many socks?” I ask.

“Well, I like a variety. Thicker socks for when it’s cold and thinner socks and normal socks.”

Appears to have a sock fetish.

We get home and I leave her to settle in as I pop the dinner on. My mum walks in as I’m laying the dining table.

“What time’s dinner?” she asks.

“Few minutes?”

“Crikey!” she exclaims, running upstairs, presumably to change into her evening socks.

Quirks aside, I think we’re going to be fine. I’m an adult now, I can cope with my mum for a couple of weeks. It’ll be nice, actually. Bit of time for bonding. Do the mother-daughter-talkey-talkey-love thing. Then, as I’m showing her how the shower works I make a joke about how she’ll definitely want to shower over the next 2 weeks.

“2 weeks?” she replies, “I’m staying for a month.”