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(A short story of 2550 words)

Cloud 9


by Naomi Richardson

Morgan is concerned about her mother...

I glance at my watch. It’s just turned 10:00 on this gloomy autumn morning and I breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t start work until 12:00, so perhaps I can relax a little. I open my diary and read the handful of names there – all very familiar bar one, a new client and my last counselling appointment at 6:00 o’clock this evening.

Swallowing the knot of tension in my throat I unlock the metal cabinet and rifle through files for the case notes I’ll need later on. With coffee in hand I ease myself into my comfy old armchair – I’m in a bit of a daze and sit twisting strands of hair round a finger and chewing the inside of my mouth. It’s hopeless trying to focus on these scrawled notes when my mother’s anxious face keeps intruding. She’s been living at the Cloud 9 care home for a few months now and in that time her memory seems to have gone downhill rapidly. It’s probably just the effects of the move, but it’s a real worry and as her only daughter I feel totally responsible for her. This parent, child reversal thing is a steep learning curve.

Honestly, sometimes it feels as if she’s actually behaving like this on purpose, as if she’s punishing me for persuading her to make the move. She’s always been a little self-centred and at times is capable of being rather manipulative. I usually deal with this fairly well, but I can hear that familiar refrain – after everything I’ve done to try and make you happy, this is how you treat me! I’m not quite sure if these are my thoughts, or indeed my mother’s, but then this is how it is...

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