The photograph left Misha with no doubt: she was now officially old.
Staring into the mirror, she compared versions of herself. The photo taken thirty years ago showed her bright eyes, and high cheekbones; her skin taut and rosy. Now, she was all crinkly around the edges, had jowls, and her skin was papery, and seemed to slide downwards.
Shit! She’d somehow surrendered to age.
She felt old too. All her joints ached, her knees screamed whenever she lowered herself to sit. She crawled back into her bed; the day could go fuck itself.
The doorbell rang. Misha groaned quietly but ignored it.
She heard a key slide into the lock, followed by the door opening and closing.
Emmie. What was she doing here?
‘Mum,’ Emmie repeated. ‘Are you here?’
Emmie’s footsteps quickened as she hurried to Misha’s room.
‘What are you doing in bed? You’re never in bed in the day,’ Emmie stated, her brow furrowed with concern.
‘Can’t be bothered today Em, that’s all. I’m fine.’
‘I’m calling your doctor.’
‘No need. I’m fine,’ Misha said again, this time with a firm tone.
Emmie drew breath. Her fingers lightly touched Misha’s forehead. ‘You feel OK. Can I get you a cuppa. Or lunch?’
‘No, thanks.’ Misha paused. She didn’t want to hurt her daughter’s feelings. ‘What brings you here?’
‘Thought we’d go to lunch. My shout.’
‘Perhaps take one of your friends out instead. I’m great here today. This is all I want to do.’
‘Are you sure you’re OK Mum?’
‘Totally. Just want a day to myself, that’s all.’
‘Alright then.’ Emmie kissed Misha’s forehead and left.
Misha opened the drawer in the bedside table, pulled out her packet of paracetamol. She popped four from the blister pack and swallowed them with water. Not enough to harm her, but enough to block out her pain. She closed her eyes. Shut away the reminder of all the years gone by and slept.