Mum, Are You In The Toilet?

“Mum are you in the toilet?” there was as sense of urgency in his voice

“Yes I am. Is everything okay?” she had just sat down.

“No” his voiced trailed off, he sounded weak, it may have been his last breath.

“Do you need me to come out?” she used the same tone she used for cold water swim sessions and the fourth game of UNO.

“Yes please, I’ll wait here at the door for you” she could see his shadow.

“Okay, one second, I’m flushing now, I’ll just be one second” she kept the conversation going, much the same as a policeman talking someone down from the ledge. As she wriggled back into her knickers she asked him questions. “Where’s your brother? Are you still there? She had left him in the kitchen. Had he used a sharp knife? Perhaps he’d turned on the stove? Maybe he’d found the lighter for the bbq?

“Are you going to be much longer?” his voice was barely audible.

As she pushed the door open with a sense of urgency she saw him sitting on her bed eating a nectarine.

“Are you okay?” she asked doing a full body scan from the door – no blood, nothing ripped, all limbs attached.

“I wanted to show you the fruit I chose. Did you see the fruit I chose?” he thrust the nectarine in her direction with a grin on his face.

“You mean the fruit we just bought together at the supermarket. The fruit that I helped you put into a bag? The fruit that I paid for at the check-out? Yes. Yes, I saw it.”

“I love nectarines” he said as he casually exited the room “I’m going to watch some telly.”

She thought about going back to the toilet but somehow she no longer needed to go.

Fourteen years of motherhood, yet occasionally a rookie error had her feeling like she’d only just begun.

“Mum are you in the toilet?”

“Is the house on fire?”


“Is anyone bleeding?”


“Come back and see me in five minutes”.

She’d remember tomorrow.

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