My mother hides things

from The Tiny Key by Frances Gapper


When I woke up one morning, my mother had hidden the Cheerios and the Dorset Cereals. She had hidden the milk, the bread, the butter and the chunky marmalade. I went to buy us more breakfast from the corner shop, but by the time I returned, my mother had hidden the plates and bowls, the spoons, the knives and the toaster!

When I got up the next morning, my mother had hidden my brush and comb, my knickers and bra, my black jacket and suit, my shoes and stockings, my face powder and mascara. I went to get more clothes etc from the 24-hour supermarket – they have everything you need there – but by the time I returned, she’d hidden my mobile phone, my credit and debit cards (apart from the Goldfish, which I’d taken to the supermarket), my Oyster card and my pass for entering the building.

When I opened my eyes the third morning, there was no bed! My mother had hidden it while I slept, so I’d been sleeping on the floor. I went downstairs, but there was no downstairs – and by the time I turned around, no upstairs either. My mother had hidden the stairs, the house and the other houses, the streets and cars, the planes, the known world, the universe. All that remained was a small table and on the table, a tiny key. I picked up the key and twiddled it between my thumb and finger.