THE BACK ROOM
On the day she moves her dying grandmother downstairs to the back room, Harriet discovers three diaries belonging to her absent mother hidden under a mattress. Within the pages of the diaries, a tragedy is revealed which Harriet finds deeply painful.
Angry and bewildered Harriet abandons her grandmother, in the last 24 hours of her life, and disappears, leaving her unsuspecting boyfriend, Jimmy, to cope with a death bed confession for which he feels singularly unprepared.
“Gran, do you remember where Hilary went when she left Hat with you?”
There, I thought, I’d come straight to the point. No pussy footing around the subject. When she didn’t answer I searched for her bony claw under the bedclothes and tried to squeeze it, gently. Her eyes flickered open briefly before closing again. I repeated the question. (I did try, Hat, I said to myself. I asked her. Twice.)
“I loved my girl,” she said. It came out like a hiccough and sent me reeling, backwards, almost off the chair.
I was in. It was like making contact with a miner trapped underground.
You can purchase The Back Room here.