YOUR mum’s telling you about someone, you drifted off thinking about Wagon Wheels, and now you’ve no idea who. It’s probably one of these:
The moral arc of the universe bends towards justice and the conversational arc of your mother bends towards Auntie Kath. Everything goes back to her: the dress she wore at that funeral, the low quality of her vol-au-vents in 2010, what she said about Auntie Susan. You’ve seen Auntie Kath twice in 20 years and don’t care.
Brian next door
A towering figure in your mother’s life, the movements and conversation of Brian – who is apparently a lovely man – are chronicled in minute detail. His passing remark about the weather will be relayed to you six to eight times. Apparently you’ve met him.
Her old friend Francesca
The story of how your mum drifted out of touch with Francesca then found her through Facebook is recounted like Arthurian legend. You hear everything about her, but she never seems available to meet up with mum. Almost like their renewed friendship is something she regrets.
Bridget from her craft group
A newcomer to your mum’s monologues but coming up fast. Bridget sits next to your mum when they’re sewing and oh, the fun they have. Especially when they were already laughing and Bridget made an ‘in stitches’ gag. ‘You should have been there,’ your mum says, and you feel like you were.
Bridget from her craft group’s daughter Siobahn
We’re doing at-three-removes now? This is f**ked. You resent it with the same slow-burning intensity that you resent hearing about Brooklyn Beckham. Nonetheless you’re filled in on Siobahn’s job, her flat in Peckham, her city break in Riga. Why?
Never mentioned in any conversations. Barely exists as far as your mum’s concerned. Only included here on the outside chance he’s inconvenienced her by taking her car to be serviced.