As my mother speaks to me, I feel my mind going blank.
‘And that’s why I told you to look after your brother and that I’d come back in two hours. But it turned into three. And your brother was hungry. And you decided to heat up some stew for him, because I told you if he was hungry to give him something to eat – but I didn’t tell you what to give him. And when I came home I could smell something awful, something burnt, even from the ground floor. I ran up the stairs and broke the heel on my shoe. I could hear you and your brother bawling. I entered the flat and the entire kitchen was white with smoke. The overturned pot, with the burnt stew spilt over, was on the floor. I could hear you howling from the bathroom. I walked in,’ here my mother squeezed the spoon in her hand, ‘and I saw you standing there with your little hand under running cold water, crying loudly. Your brother, the size of a pea, was clutching your leg. His face was all red like never before. Your brother hit his head on the washing machine and began hollering even louder. You cried out when you saw me and began jumping up and down on the spot, saying over and over: “It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.” And then I saw your little hand, all swollen from being burnt, I wanted to die, my dear child,’ my mother says to me, and lets her head fall. She covers her eyes with her aged hand.
My vision blurs and I notice something dripping into the bowl of soup in front of me. Then I lift the spoon and begin to eat.