Michelle D Evans
‘It was the best of times… no, really, the very best of times. I can’t help but think if only… No but we must look to the future now.’ Louise went to stand up.
‘Oh, Aunt Louise, if you don’t tell me about those times, how will I ever know anything about Mother?’ Sophie, nearing adulthood but innocently yearned to know more.
‘The best of times…’ she urged.
‘Yes, when your mother and I were in our early 20’s,’ Louise sighed.
‘What made it the best of times, Aunt Louise?’ Sophie asked.
‘Freedom! We were free and easy and loved it. We did what we wanted.’ Louise turned to Sophie and said in a low voice. ‘But maybe being so easy wasn’t the best.’
‘Tell me more, Aunt Louise,’ Sophie curled her knees in to her chest looking small and childlike.
‘You’re mum had just finished her degree, we were pumped for a big night. Sophie, you’re nearly 17, I’m going to tell you this so hopefully you will learn not only about your mum, but so you won’t make the same mistakes.
‘But you said it was the best of times,’ Sophie was a little lost.
‘Yes, well I suppose that’s how we used to think. Looking back, all the hangovers, memory loss, men – many men…’
‘Are you saying, that my mother… many men?’ Sophie blushed.
‘I’m afraid so, Soph, that’s why you’ve never met your father. I don’t believe your mum worked out which one it was, so she never told any of them about you,’ Louise paused for a moment, then rushed on. ‘It was just after your second birthday, your mum rang me and said “Louise lets got out like we used to.” She drank a lot before we went out.’
‘Is this the night she died, Aunt Louise?’ Sophie’s wet eyes looked down.
Louise searched for courage, her lip quivered.
‘I went to the bar to get more beers while your mum was on the dance floor. Stories about spiked drinks were all over the papers and it crossed my mind your mum had left her drink at the table while I carried mine to the dance floor. I searched for her on the dance floor but found her just off to the side, lying on the floor. It was too late. I looked to our table. Her drink was spiked. The bottle was empty.’