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  • My mother has, over the past year or two, lost a lot of weight. She is, justifiably, decidedly pleased with herself. We, her daughters, are also pleased, if not a little TOO familiar with the progress. Ounce by ounce.

    ‘Size 10!’ She exclaims. ‘Me! Size 10! Can you believe it?’

    ‘Very good’, we murmur, from the mouths on the faces on the heads on our medium-sized bodies. We want her happiness to last.

    Mother and I meet for coffee - or in my case, hot chocolate. I am wearing my new coat, which she admires. Where is it from? she wants to know.
    I tell her, then confess it to have been a bargain: conscious, suddenly of the label and of her in-grained, post-war austerity.
    'It was the last one' I rush to explain 'so very much reduced'.
    I gesture downwards. 'Of course', I say, 'with the last one you don't always get exactly the size you want, so it's a little bit -'
    ' - Snug?' she suggests, immediately.

    I am taken aback, then rather outraged.
    'No!' I say. 'Not snug! Roomy! Look!' I grasp a spare handful of cashmere blend to illustrate the point.
    'Oh. Sorry' she says, non-plussed. 'I just assumed it would be...er...' she trails off.

    With great effort and monumental control, I suppress the urge to demand that she observe the decidedly spacious dimensions of the new coat, of how I am practically rattling around inside it.

    I take a breath. I re-calibrate. This is not about me. This is her moment in the sun.
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