I parked my car, I knocked on her door, I rapped my knuckles with vigour.
She opened the door, left it open to allow me to follow her in.
In her pyjamas at midday, she was drunk.
She hunkered down on the settee. ‘Sorry mum,’ she said.
‘Oh Bella, 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, and made a bed on my settee. I switched the television on, found a programme she would enjoy. 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. 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, it was pointless trying to mother her, trying to keep her safe, trying to keep her sane.
I made her something to eat. She said she’d take a bath. I found clean clothes of mine for her to put on.
We heard the rush of water from the bath taps. Bella closed the bathroom door.
‘She’s not staying,’ Husband said again. Made sure I knew his mind.
Bella 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, and drove her back to her flat, with a bag of groceries I had cobbled together.