My mother and I were in Bristol, visiting someone. A cousin, or something, and her teenage daughter. We were having tea—like this. I would’ve been nine or ten.
Children did a lot of listening in those days. I was never very good at it. I’ve always felt that only interesting people should speak, though it’s the opposite of convention. I suppose I fidgeted too much or said something smart because Mother hissed in my ear: “Why don’t you go upstairs and say hello to Katherine?”
Children still did as they were told in those days. I was never very good at that, either. But this time, I listened. I suppose I was bored. I didn’t know who Katherine was and I didn’t ask.
The first room I went into was the master bedroom. There were clothes all over the floor. When the parlour had been so clean.
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