“Hello, mother, how are you?”

“It's me, Julia.”

“Are you? Well, you don't look too bad. Are they looking after you properly? Nice view from this window. It seems to be a nice place here!”

“Julia. Your daughter. Come on mother, you know me. Your daughter. You've only got one for God's sake, you'd think you'd remember.”

“Robert's your son. I'm your daughter. Me. Julia. Yes I'm sure he did, it's easier for him, he lives near. I can't just pop over from Amarante for an hour. You know that.”

“Amarante. It's in Portugal. Where I live.”

“No, Robert lives here in England. I'm the one who lives in Portugal. With Paolo. My husband.”

“Yes you do, I brought you to meet him. When we got back from the honeymoon. Paolo. You remember?”

“No don't be silly, Robert's a man. Paolo is my husband. I'm the one who's married.”

“Yes I know he's nice. He's my brother. I've known him all my life you silly old fool. But I'm the one who's married, all right? To Paolo. Paolo, got it? Give me strength.”

“Look, I can't stay long. I'm here on business. I've come over to sort out some money matters and I've got to be at the bank in a bit. I've brought you a present. Here. I hope you like it.”

“I couldn't get it wrapped, at the airport they won't do gift wrapping.”

“It's a shawl. A traditional Portuguese shawl. You put it around your shoulders. Keeps you warm.”

“Yes it is a bit hot in here, isn't it? Shall I open a window? No? All right, all right I won't.”

“Look, mother, I'm going to see Robert this evening. Do want me to take him a message? Anything you want to tell him?”

“Hang on, I'll make a list. Mint Imperials, Lucozade, Knickers,... Knickers? You can't ask a man to buy your knickers for you, what kind do you want? I'll try and find the time.”

“He does? Really? Are you sure? Well of course you're sure, you daft old bat. Bloody Hell. Okay I'll talk to him about it.”

“You want me to tell him not to visit? Why? Oh, not to visit till the weekend. Was he coming before that? Every day? I think you've got that wrong, dear. I don't think your son visits you every day. That would be...”

“If he can't come who did you say comes? Pedro? Who's Pedro?”

“No, how many times to I have to tell you? I'm the one who's married. To Paolo. Paolo. Not Pedro. Robert's your son. He's a man. I'm Julia, married to Paolo. In Portugal. Can you remember that? Can you just try? Who am I? Do you even know who I am?”


*        *        *


“Robert! Am I ever glad to see you! I can't get any sense out of her. Have you got any tissues? I've run out.”

“Can I have the pack? Thank you.”

“I was going to call in this evening, I didn't expect to see you here.”

“Yes, she said you do. Actually she said you visit every day but she's clearly confused. She thinks you're married – to a man called Pedro! Can you believe!”

“Oh! Oh, ... Pedro? I'm... pleased to meet you. I'm so sorry, I didn't realise...”

“Robert I'm going now, I'll leave her with you... you two. But this evening you and I are going to talk. Oh yes, we're going to talk.”

“Goodbye till then. So pleased to meet you, Pedro. Goodbye mother. Mother?”



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