Mother actually noticed I was away this summer. "Where were you", she asks from the sofa, her sun-bleached face draped in its most stoic of expressions: think Cleopatra minus the snake.
It sounds as if she really wants to know so I start telling her about Nice.
"Ah, Nice", she interrupts in a sentence. "I used to go there with
your... well, you know" (she's referring to my father). I'm on a knife's
edge listening, he never told me anything about France or the Riviera. I
had always thought that their trip through
Russia by train was his only visit back to Europe after his escape from
the remains of his family and the city he lived in.
into the far away distance, then focuses her eyes on something tangible
just over my head. "My goodness" she giggles nervously, "why am I
telling you this?"