It was right there in front of her. Sitting on the desk, with the large label and the excessive amount of sellotape. The big space where the postage paid label should have been. Just waiting to be opened.
It was the same every month. First, the delivery card would appear through the door, “Sorry we missed you. Your parcel has a charge to pay…” Then the long, painful journey to the depot, the search through the handbag for the ID, the acknowledgment that no, she didn’t look like that anymore, and no, the address didn’t quite match. Finally the long painful journey back to the house. It wouldn’t take so long, or be quite so painful if she could take the bus but that was no longer an option.
It was the same every month. Every time her mother remembered her birthday, every time her mother sent her the gift, a hideous porcelain vase. Identical to the one she sent last month. With the same card. Even the same message. As if it was still Sam’s 31st birthday, as it had been all those years ago.
It was the same every month. Her mother forgot so many things. Why could it not be that she forgot Sam’s address? Or the fact her birthday was on the 5th of the month, not the right month, just the 5th day. Or the fact that once, and only once, Sam had made a throw away comment about liking a vase. Sam was pretty sure she wasn’t even looking at the vase when her mum asked what she thought… “How about this for Harry? Do you think he’d like it? I’m not sure it’s quite right…”
But no, those details would never been forgotten.