Smell of burning martyr.
Why my brother can't type Daft.ie , or myhome.ie into a computer is a mystery to all of us. House renting has come a long way from queing all evening outside a dump in Rathmines with a copy of the Evening Herald clutched in your ink stained fingers.
So my mother is coming to Dublin today, she is taking Etheline and me to lunch. I don't want to go, Etheline does not want to go. Naturally we are going.
I predict snivelling, weeping, accusations. I predict that somehow it will be all my fault. I predict eye rolling, raised voices, shushing, more accusations, refusal of desserts, acceptance of desserts. Finger pointing and sniffing loudly are sure to top the bill.
'Nobody cares.' My mother wailed this morning when I was stupid enough to answer the phone. 'I sacrificed so much for you children and this is how you repay me, you break my heart and then...nobody cares. I might as well curl up and die for all any of you care.Maybe I should just die, it's not like I have anything to live for.'
'Hello' I lied.
'Come to lunch today.'
'I can't I'm busy.'
'Etheline is coming.'
'Okay. So you don't need me to go.'
'You're like granite. You've no heart at all, you know someday I'll be gone. Time and tide waits for no man.'
I grit my teeth because A) I hate that expression and B) I can hear her faux teary voice kicking in.
'I was at the the doctor yesterday and do you know what she said?'
'She said stress is killing me, do you hear that? Killing me!'
'My blood pressure is up, I had two panic attacks yesterday, I couldn't breathe...'
And yet she found time and breath aplenty to carry on in this vein for some twenty minutes until I gave in and said I'd go to lunch.
When I finally got her off the line I called Etheline.
'You too?' Etheline groaned as soon as she heard my voice.
''She told me her arm went numb yesterday. She figures she is heading for a stroke.'
I ponder this for a moment. 'I've heard people who have strokes sometimes lose the ability to speak.'
'Fingers crossed then.'
We both laugh guiltily. I say bye and tell her I'll see her later.
My day, though young, is already in tatters.