The Displaced Nation

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LIBBY’S LIFE #91/#92 – The Stepfordization of Maggie

Maggie’s house used to feel like my second home. Every part of it was an extension of her, my “other” mother: the black wood-stove, the teapot-cats she didn’t have the heart to throw away, the colourful patchwork quilts draped over rocking chairs and love-seats. I loved the stove’s smoky smell that wound through the house, […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #80 – A place of our own

Melissa stands in our hallway and jabs at her clipboard with a purple pen. I feel my upper lip curl into a sneer; I don’t trust anyone who uses purple ink. “So,” she says, prodding the clipboard and tapping her high-heeled foot in a staccato rhythm. All she needs is a washboard and bells and […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #79 – Gladiator games

June. Summertime. Crickets, cicadas. Long evenings, hot days. Or, back on Planet Earth in 2013: June. Thunderstorms. Hailstones, lightning. Flood warnings, incessant rain. Central heating returning for another encore, and cabin fever causing small children to ricochet off walls and demand opportunities to test the effectiveness of recently purchased wellington boots. Rain or no rain, […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #78 – Trust no agent

There is nothing better than spending a sultry, summer afternoon in the cool darkness of the Maxwell Plum. We’re the only customers here, Jack is at nursery, and the twins are napping in their double pushchair beside our table. If I shut my eyes like this, thereby ignoring both the twins and my thirty-something reflection […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #77 – First refusal

“You have got to be kidding me. What were you thinking, Libs?” Oliver prods with his toe at an oak panel in the empty, echoing living room. The panel cracks; a large piece of wood falls backwards into the abyss behind, and a suspicious scurrying tells us we have disturbed someone’s living quarters. “Christ in […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #76 – This old house

“Did you do something special with the twins on their birthday?” Willow squirts ketchup on the burger that Oliver’s handed her, then pops open a can of Bud. “On the day itself, I mean?” Oliver catches my eye, grins, and turns away to flip more burgers while discussing cricket, or the American lack thereof, with […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #75 – Glass houses

We’re house hunting again. I meant to have a serious talk with Oliver about Sandra’s interior design efforts in our home in Milton Keynes, but before I could find the right moment (you have to pick the right moment to talk to Oliver about his mother) we had a sweet little note from our landlady. […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #74 – Quarterly accounts

April 1, 2013. One quarter of the way through the year. Time to check in with those New Year’s Resolutions. In the wee hours of January 1st while being kept awake by the neighbours’ illuminated, inflatable Christmas decorations, I promised myself I would do certain things this year. In no particular order: 1. Talk to […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #73 – Stuck in my craw(fish)

Beth is in possession of her wooden box again. I, however, am in possession of a new enemy. Ah well. I suppose it’s about time. Last week I met Crystal’s mom, Jodee Addison. In the nursery school parking lot, we returned our respective offspring’s stolen Valentine gifts as if exchanging ransom and hostage — each […]

LIBBY’S LIFE #72 – Puppy love

I really don’t want to make this phone call. But I dial the number anyway. The phone picks up at the other end, a child answers, and I’m about to launch into a high-pitched, nervous Hello-is-your-mommy-there routine when I realise it’s not a real child but one who’s been recorded in a message. “Hiiiiiii….. This is the […]