‘Did I tell you about that dream I had when you were tiny? I was walking down the high street when I realised I lost you.’
Lulu groaned. ‘Why am I not surprised?’
Of course, they had heard this dream before. Still they cuddled up together waiting for more.
So I told them. ‘To be honest, at first I was a little relieved. I carried on walking down this high street. Suddenly I stopped – there you were in the shopfront of this old-fashioned antique store, for sale.’
I smiled slowly. ‘Yep. You lay there in the shopfront in your little white onesie, six-weeks old. As I stood there looking at you, this enormous feeling brewed inside me. You were mine! I went straight into the shop to claim you back. But the shopkeeper wouldn’t just let you go. “This is my baby,” I kept insisting. “Prove it,” he shot back. So, I told him all about you; how it was difficult because you were my first baby. Even though I hadn’t really bonded with you yet, I knew you were definitely mine. And when I woke up, I finally knew that I loved you.’
Delphine sighed with happiness. Lulu shot me a look from the corner of her eyes. ‘Did the shop man give me back?’
I shredded. ‘I can’t remember. As far as I was concerned, you were mine though.’
‘What was I like?’
I stared at her little sister. ‘When you were six-weeks old, you’d go to sleep and wake up with stickers all over you.’
‘My handiwork,’ Lulu said.
‘And Lulu used to put you in her toy pushchair so she could push you around the kitchen. In between re-arranging the spice cupboard and dipping both fingers into the marmite, scooping out the fermented yeast like it was delicious caviar.
‘You did leave occasional presents on the kitchen floor too Lu,’ Jack said.
‘And pissed on the stairs when no one was looking,’ I added.
‘I really was the most awesome child,’ Lulu sighed proudly .
‘You never wanted to be away from your sister. To the point where you refused to go to your own class at school, so I persuaded Kath at nursery to let you join Delph’s class. Then at least you were there with Delphine.’
‘I went to nursery with Delph? I don’t remember that.’
I shook my head. ‘When I think about it, all through your school years I’ve been persuading teachers crazy plans when it comes to your education. Even just recently I organised Mrs Griffiths to let you back into Penglais next year. It started with Kath – right at the beginning, For four months, you were the biggest kid in that nursery class by far.’
Jack did his well-worn impression of Lulu as a little old lady going behind Kath and helping with the cups. Nothing like an old joke.
‘What happened?’ Lu asked while we were still belly-laughing. ‘When did I go to my own school?’
‘After Delph got her thick glasses and stopped falling over. It was like your shift was over.’
Delph cuddled up to her.
I turned the light off. ‘Sleep tight, girls.’