I parked my car. I knocked on Laura’s door. I rapped my knuckles on this cheap door with vigour.
Not expecting me, Laura opened the door. She left it open to allow me in.
She was in her pyjamas at midday. Drunk.
She hunkered down on the settee. ‘I’m sorry mum.’
‘Oh Laura. Why? Come home with me?’ I asked. ‘Let me look after you.’
With reluctance, she clambered into my car.
I got a pillow and duvet from upstairs to make a bed on my settee. I switched the television on, found a programme she would enjoy and turned the volume down. I closed the living room door and left her in peace.
A couple of hours went by. I opened the living room door to check on her. The reek of alcohol seeped out of her pores into the room. I made her coffee. I had nothing to say.
Husband returned home from work. ‘What’s she doing here, in that state?’ he asked.
I ushered him to the kitchen, pacified him. Said I was worried about her state of health. His two eyebrows became one. ‘She’s not staying. She’s not coming back here to live.’
‘I know.’ And I did. Pointless trying to mother her, trying to keep her safe, trying to keep her sane.
I made Laura something to eat. She said she’d take a bath. I found clean clothes of mine for her to wear.
Husband and I heard the rush of water from the bath taps. Laura closed the bathroom door.
‘She’s not staying,’ Husband said again.
Laura reappeared, refreshed, showed not a jot of gratitude. Lost her temper at a comment Husband made about her not showing up for work.
‘That’s it, you can go,’ he said. He drove her back to her flat, with a bag of groceries I had cobbled together.