Jo peers through broken glass into a bare room. She is eleven again. Mum has piled the fire high. Jo chucks sweet wrappers onto it; Mum tells her off each time. Dad’s slippers are empty, under his chair. A newspaper is folded, unread, on the seat. Mum wears a half-pinny, and streaked mascara. Jo in pyjamas, her head full of questions; their shapes linger on her lips but don’t break free. Something from a lost year plays on the radio. Far too upbeat, flippant. The fire crackles and spits. A sob escapes.
Mum is chucking sweet wrappers onto the fire; it crackles and spits each time. A glass breaks. Jo, eleven, in pyjamas, her head full of something playing on the radio. Free and upbeat. Her lips are wearing flippant shapes. Mum tells Jo off, “Don’t!”. A folded half-question escapes from Dad: their broken years have piled high. Slippers on, under the chair. His newspaper unread on the seat again. Mum peers into her empty pinny through streaked mascara. She is lost. A room, but far too bare. A fire. A sob. Jo lingers.