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  • Five minutes in the life of a three year old.

    I sat at the table watching my mother; a stranger to me, tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear as she peeled two potatoes, over the sink into a colander under running water, The last bits of earth washed away into the white porcelain sink and swirled down the drain.

    She gave the naked potatoes one last rinse under the tap, took a saucepan down from the rack above the stove. She filled a kettle up with cold water and placed it on the gas ring she clicked a magic lighter that set off a spark as she turned the gas on. Puff, blue tinged white flames spouted out of the circle of holes in the gas ring.

    Mummy took a piece of cheese from the fridge and pushed it cheese up and down on a grater so the cheese came out of the holes in thin strips into a brown bowl; until the whistle attached to the spout of the sent out a shrill noise. She poured the hot water over the potatoes in the saucepan.

    As the water bubbled around in the saucepan, I watched the steam rise into the air, finding its way out of the open window above the sink.

    I felt strange. This was not my home. I wanted to be in the familiar surroundings of my Auntie’s house with my cousins Beryl and Arnold. It had been a long time since I last saw my mother. She had been in hospital for six months. To a three year old it was a lifetime.

    My mother took a glass bottle of milk and a square of butter out of the fridge and placed them on the table that folded down from the kitchen wall unit.

    “I’m going to make your favourite lunch,” she told me with fear in her small blue eyes; “Grated cheese on mashed potatoes.”

    I did not remember eating potatoes in this kitchen. I longed to be with my Auntie Anne with my cousin Beryl running around and Arnold teasing me.

    I climbed down from my chair and went to sit in my pushchair that was standing next to the coal stove.

    “I want to go home now,” I told my mother.

    Her face went a funny colour and her mouth fell open.

    “But this is your home Diane,” she told me wiping tears off her cheeks.

    I started to cry, “I want Auntie Annie.”

    I could sense that my mother did not know what to do. She stood wringing her hands looking down on me as I gripped the sides of the pushchair.

    Suddenly there was a knock on the front door that echoes down the narrow hallway. My mother rushed to open it and my sister Sandy bounded into the kitchen dropping her school bag onto the lino covered floor.

    “Diane wants to go back to Auntie Annie,” she told my nine year old sister Sandy. “I don’t know what to do. Cheer her up please.”

    Sandy bent down, pulled me onto her back; then ran up and down the hall as I bounced and laughed enjoying her happy energy.
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