The Glass Table

The Glass Table // Circa 1983 // Age approximately 5

From an early age, I had an uncomfortable feeling about Mum and Dad going out, it’s hard to put my finger on it but I guess, in hindsight, this was the beginning of a lifetime of anxiety, a constant worry that all wouldn’t be well, always sat there on my shoulder, whispering dreadful scenarios into my ear.

My Auntie, Mums only sibling, would often babysit me when I was young. She was completely blind and had been since childhood, when she was given her first guide dog. Despite her own darkness, she was my only light for many years.

It was late and the fire had died down, a few remaining embers glowed quietly behind the cracked glass panelled door. I must have been, I guess around 5, definitely younger than 7 as I vividly remember the room and which house we were in. Sat with my Auntie, eagerly awaiting the return of my parents from a neighbours house party, up way beyond my bedtime.

With a commotion, they bundled themselves through the door that opened into the corner of the living room in typical terraced layout. My Dad displaying much annoyance at the state of my Mother, his arms under hers, struggling to keep her upright as she stumbled in. The familiar smell of alcohol.

Feeling the need to recoil, having not received the greeting I expected, I stepped back as she fell forward. Hands down into the glass coffee table she crashed, expecting it to save her. It instantly smashed under her weight. Although not terribly big, she would definitely have been classed as a larger, buxom woman. The table didn’t stand a chance. As she fell into what looked like thousands of little chunks of glass. I took in the sight of her: arms through the metal frame, hands on the floor, on her knees, she looked up, open mouthed, struggling to see past the weight of her own eyelids, almost confused as to what had happened. Dad trying to regain some kind of control, pulling her backwards, away from the mess. They shouted at her, they shouted at me. Fear, disappointment, worry, coursing through my veins, I ran to bed.


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