Friday, 1 July 2016

Grandma's for Tea

 It had been a really sunny day, I’d been in college for a few hours, and when I got home my Mum told me we were going over to our Grandma’s house for our tea. Gran had recently moved into her new flat which was just on the other side of the park from us. It was quite small, but very cosy.

It had been a typically grey day for Em. She hadn’t been able to go to school for a week or so because she’d been ill. I can’t remember what exactly, could have been a terrible cough and sore chest, could have been really bad ulcers in her mouth, or she could just have been exhausted.

She’d spent a few hours in the morning shouting at my Mum for insignificant and unimportant things. My Mum took this for a few hours fairly silently. She knew the real cause of her behaviour, and so it was all justified. The culmination of Emily’s mood and bad thoughts however came to be that she refused to come over to have tea with us. (This was massively out of character- Emily absolutely adored food, especially my Grandma’s!)

We pleaded, but she was having absolutely none of it.
All three Cavanagh girls are known for being extremely stubborn.
Finally me and Mum just walked out and drove over to my Grandma’s house.
We slammed the door on the way out. (I feel quite sorry for the front door of our old house now, it was slammed shut so very often during those years, and it had a large amount of glass in it. This made it extra noisy and extra dangerous- perfect for teenage girls with bad tempers!)


The second we sat down to eat, my Mum’s phone rang.
She snatched it up to her ear.

My Mum launched out of her chair, bolted down the stairs and sped away in the car.

Gran didn’t speak.
I walked to look out the window.
I stayed looking out.
At nothing.
At tarmac perhaps, trees?

We had a thick red fluffy carpet in our bathroom.

My Mum expected to walk in to a horrendous scene.

We’d read the leaflets.
People dealing with genetic diseases often did it.
Especially young people.

Emily wasn’t predictable though.
She wasn’t typical.

What my Mum found that day were what seemed to be little furry creatures all over our lovely red carpet.
It wasn’t an act that was in any way planned or rational.

It was simply that Emily had figured out one way in which she could have control over her body.

It wasn't about hurting herself, it was about being able to make a drastic change to her appearance, to her life, without consulting anyone.

My Mum cuddled Emily for an hour on the bathroom floor.
My Mum rang me, and I came home.
The three of us watched a film together in our pjamas, and Emily ate some readybrek.

The next day my Mum booked a hair appointment for Em.
Her pixie cut looked beautiful. Edgy. Cool. She pulled it off.

A few weeks later I asked if she had been inspired by Britney Spears…

She hit me over the head with a massive cushion, knocking my glasses into my eyeballs. As I righted myself, I heard her say:

''You're just jealous because Mum said you wanted a pixie cut last year but the hairdresser wouldn't do it because your face is too bone-y or something! What he meant was that it would make your nose stick out...''

even more than it already does.''

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