Her brothers were in full fight mode when Moira got back in from work, all over the halfpennyworth of broken biscuits they had been allowed to ask for at the shop rather than spend any ration coupons. “Billy, Ray, Dad’ll have his strap out if you two don’t stop that,” she shouted, though she knew it hung on the hook as threat rather than promise. She wanted them up to bed out of the way by the time she and Mam started the final alterations for her wedding costume. That pale blue silk had been too hard to come by for mucky fingerprints to come anywhere near.
They reckon it was 70 years ago since she left to marry her handsome soldier. “Of course it can’t be,” she says to his photo in the silver frame on the dresser. “It’s like it was yesterday.”
If only she could be back living in that busy family home, warming herself by the fire or catching up on the gossip with Hilda while they wait for Mam’s steak and kidney pudding to finish steaming on the stove. They say she can’t, but if it was just yesterday, why not?
She is told she has lived in many places since that house. She doesn’t remember anything about that, only that she now wakes up in this flat – no fire, nor stove, just some new-fangled digital boiler and something called an induction hob. No one else seems to live here, and there’s no view due to the high hedge just beyond the window. She does have daughters who visit sometimes and one just phoned her, but she wonders what to do to pass the rest of the day until her evening carer pops in. Since her legs packed up, she can barely get to the door, never mind the shops.
Moira sits in her chair, discards her thin newspaper, and stares at the privet hedge, clueless as to how she is going to fill the interminable day ahead of her before bedtime. Can a day last 70 years? – of course it can.