I saw it, and something snapped. It was a postcard – just a postcard, and I always send postcards home when I go away. I’ve even gotten used to sending two, to my parents, at different addresses. That was really hard at first.
But there was something about this one.It was from Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. It was from my mother and her partner, on holiday in the Peak District. It wasn’t news that they were away; I knew they were. I even knew where it was that they were going.
Maybe it was something about the fact that they’d gone; that they were on holiday. We didn’t go on holiday when I was living at home. Each year, I protested, and each year was told that we didn’t have enough money. I bought this. My parents brought us up largely without any income, aside from a teacher’s pension, so maybe they were right: holidays were too expensive.
But it was a lie. Last year my mother told me that I was the reason we never went on holiday; my behaviour; tantrums. I made her experience of motherhood difficult; it was nothing like she had expected it to be. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.
With that postcard, all those memories came flooding back, and darkness fell. Nowadays, my mother claims absolute poverty. But she loves going away. Always did, apparently, before children.
I have ruined people’s lives. They can have a better time without me.