My husband thought this hilarious: After Laura’s dire exam results the college sent a letter inviting Laura to attend college and study for A level re-sit. ‘No,’ he said. ‘She’s had a two-year coffee break. She can get a job.’
I saw an advert: two-year course for dental nurse practitioner. The post paid a small salary. We sat in the back garden Laura and I to fill out the application form. ‘Go and post it,’ I said. ‘What me? I’ll do it later.’ She also applied for a job in the civil service.
Laura was invited to interview for both posts, was accepted for both. Laura chose the dental hospital in the city. She was off and running.
Laura made new friends. Holidayed in Cyprus with a bunch of girls. She came home with glandular fever: the kissing disease.
Her course was halted. She was quite ill. One night I got in bed with her to hold her until her fever abated. Once recovered she returned to the dental hospital.
I scrutinised her holiday snaps for cigarettes in ashtrays, then paired the sticks of nicotine to each girl in the picture, my daughter matched a cigarette. Her eyes looked wasted, her face shined happiness. God bless her, I thought, don’t all teenagers drink alcohol on holiday?