I wanted to make sure Laura was eating, one Saturday morning I packed a stack of plastic containers, filled with frozen delights, and headed off down the street. I knocked on her door and waited, I knocked again, harder this time – no answer. I rang her mobile phone. ‘What?’ she asked, her tone was flat.
‘I’m stood outside your front door.’ The phone went dead. The door opened. I followed her up the stairs to the first floor landing. A haze of smoke lingered in her living room, the windows were firmly shut. A friend sat on a settee. ‘Hi,’ I said to the friend a did not know. ‘Laura, what’s wrong?’ I asked.
Laura sat on the opposite settee to her mate, pulled her legs up for comfort. ‘Just a bit fed up, that’s all.’ There was a stack of furniture lent against the wall, taking over Laura’s front room. Laura was storing furniture for this friend sat on the settee.
‘I don’t understand why you feel this way. Clean your house, go for a walk, come to us for dinner.’
‘She gets upset over Mr Big I Am,’ her friend enlightened me.
‘For goodness sake,’ I said, ‘Get a grip. Why are you still bothering with him?’
Her friend sparked up again. ‘He comes here at night, takes what he came for, then leaves in the early hours.’
I looked at my daughter’s vacant, tired face. Such hope I had had for her. ‘Oh Laura,’ is all I could say.