Mum has a strange habit of vanishing completely. Not just in shops, but at home, when there are just the two of us around, plus cats. I decide to go and ask her something, and wander downstairs… and she’s not there. I go round all the rooms, then look out through the windows, then do a little tour of the garden and the sheds, and come inside again. No Mum.
It’s only when I’ve given up and am heading back upstairs with a mug of coffee that I suddenly come face to face with her… she just appears.
Sometimes she will have been right there, walking out of a room behind me, and then I stop and turn round, and there’s no sign of her. Maybe she stayed where she was, so I go back and check, and she’s not there. I check several empty rooms in the vicinity, then go upstairs, searching, and come back down, scratching my head… and she’s standing there as though she’s been there the whole time.
When we’re all in the garden, and Mum suddenly disappears, she will have crawled behind a bush with a pair of secateurs, wearing camouflage. She does the same things in shops; if you can’t see her despite a careful sweep of the premises, it’s usually because she’s stooped down behind something, or is slowly ambling away in the wrong direction.
The spookiest thing of all is when there’s a strong cold breeze, and you go downstairs to find the front door is standing wide open to the heavy rain shower beyond. And there’s no sign of Mum. She’s nowhere downstairs, or upstairs, or in the garden, or in the sheds. The car is still parked and empty. There’s just silence, the open door and the rain…