It wasn’t one of our better days, yesterday.
My son was at a party, and he was messing about with one of his rowdier mates. Fell off the stairs and hurt his foot, and by tea time he was crying with pain, couldn’t put his weight on it.
And then next thing my mum’s on the phone, asking if we have any butterfly plasters because she’s fallen over the vacuum cleaner and split her head open, and she’s bleeding heavily. (Mum’s 75, not always great on her feet. It happens.)
And having sorted out the mess all round, when all was quiet bar the laundry, and little ‘un was in our bed having woken up with nightmares at 2am, I decide this is the absolute perfect time to have a panic attack.
Again – it happens, I’m a lady of a certain age, I do this stuff. But the last thing my sleeping boys – the big one and the little one – need, is me shaking hard enough to rattle the bed under them. So I get up, and go and sit in the bathroom in the dark.
Oh – and the toilet started leaking last night, as well.
But I’m sitting there, very gingerly on my leaky khazi, in the dark,while the house sleeps and settles around me.
And I start to smell smoke. Cigarette smoke.
We don’t smoke. I used to, gave it up ten years ago. Husband is an asthmatic and a very passionate anti-smoker. Little un’s six.
Can’t smell it in our bedroom at the front of the house, so it’s not someone passing on the road outside. Just in the bathroom.
And that means it’s downstairs. Someone is, or has been, smoking cigarettes downstairs.
It’s two nights before Halloween. The night when the dead come back to watch their beloved living.
It’s not the anniversary of his death. It’s nothing so obvious. But I sat in the dark, smelling smoke, and stopped shaking, and went back to bed.
The toilet stopped leaking. Little un’s bruised his foot, but he’s all right. Mum stopped bleeding within a few minutes.
We’re all right, dad. We’re good.
You can go back, now.