1. When Magda speaks she tosses her long, blonde hair, primps her lips, tightens her eyes. Today she wears a fuscia pink shirt. Yesterday, a black Calvin Klein t-shirt. Her eyelids are perfectly outlined, an exquisite tick upwards at the corners. I can't help staring when she runs one hand through her hair, when she brings both of them together in front of her on the table. Still. When she looks at me I feel she is really listening to what I have to say.
2. grass cuttings and puddles over the paving stones the cat flicks its tail
3. On her 6th day in hospital my mother sounds tired but positive. 'No more sentiment,' she says, 'I'm getting rid of the walnut headboard and footboard and buying an electric bed.' The boards match the his and her wardrobes and dressing table, the bedroom suite she's had since she was married in 1952. The suite that I have always known in this house where I was born. The wood is smooth, rich and dark, the grain patterned with knots and whorls. My parents' bedroom is at the back of the house and in my memory it is always in shade. Walking in there made me feel like whispering.