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.Amy’s single status was met with some disapproval by the congregation.She always was a bit flighty, they sniffed as they sipped their tea.She’s lucky to have found such a fine person to be godmother.Kathy had broadcast Linsey’s merit throughout the parish, innocently placing her where a father might more usually be found.Linsey’s family were puzzled by the thought of a christening.Her brother, Robert, was happy to go along without question, but Felicity couldn’t resist.‘You’re not even a Christian, Lins,’ she said.‘What’s this all about?’But Linsey knew exactly what she was about.Amy, as birth mother, had a legitimate title, a legitimate claim for recognition as the baby’s mother.‘Being godmother gives me some small public connection with Miranda,’ Linsey said simply.Felicity put an arm around her sister’s thin shoulders.‘You know best, Lins.’When Moss awoke, the kitchen was still dark, but, try as she might, she couldn’t go back to sleep.The air mattress had deflated and her hipbone was uncomfortably sharp against the floor.She turned onto her back.She plumped the pillow.She listened to the rain drumming on the roof.Finally, she sat up and clasped her knees, wondering what Linsey would say if she knew where she was.Her earliest memory was of a day at the beach.She must have been three or four.Her mothers were each holding a hand and swinging her over the waves.She was giggling and squealing until her hand slipped from Amy’s grasp and suddenly she was choking on a mouthful of water.Linsey was scooping her up and Moss felt the fear that rippled along the encircling arms.Coughing up the last of the water, she squirmed to escape.‘Mummy Amy,’ she called.‘Mummy Amy.’Linsey released her abruptly.‘Here.You take her,’ she said, pushing the child into Amy’s arms.‘And for God’s sake, try to be a bit more careful in future.’Had her own actions helped push Linsey away? This thought had always made her uneasy.The night she was rushed to hospital with asthma, for instance.It was Linsey who bundled her up so decisively and confronted the triage nurse, ensuring that not a moment was wasted.Moss remembered waking up in the narrow cot, the nebuliser over her face, to find a dark figure watching over her.It was Linsey, her hand threaded through the bars of the cot and resting lightly on her own.‘Where’s Mummy? Where’s Mummy?’ Moss clawed at the 37 mask, dislodging it.Linsey’s voice was soothing.‘It’s okay, Miranda.I’m here.’‘I want Mummy Amy.’ As Moss’s wail filled the sleeping ward, Linsey tried frantically to calm her.‘Mummy Amy’s just gone to get a coffee.She won’t be long, now.Shh, Miranda.You’ll wake the other children.Look, you’ve started to wheeze again.’ Linsey struggled to replace the nebuliser but Moss continued to wheeze and wail until Amy came hurrying back.Her mothers changed places at her bedside while a nurse dealt with the nebuliser.‘Thank God you’re back, Amy.’ Linsey sounded really frightened.‘That awful wheeze.’Why had she acted in that way? Moss now wondered.Small children are said to sometimes favour one parent, then the other, but Moss had always favoured Amy.She had loved Linsey, but always felt she had to measure up, whereas with Amy, she felt she had nothing to prove.One way and another, Moss had had a singular upbringing.Until she started school, she hadn’t realised that there was something odd about her family.She knew of at least two other children who didn’t seem to have fathers and it had never occurred to her that there was anything remarkable about having two mothers.She was still in first grade when, walking home from school one day, she was confronted by three older boys who shattered her simple view of the world.She was with Zoe and Michelle, her two best friends.They were nice friends, she remembered.It was a nice day and they were talking about—she couldn’t remember what, but it was funny.They were giggling, smothering their giggles behind grubby fingers, doubled over with secret laughter.She did remember that—that and a little cloud, shaped like her granny’s Staffie, Geordie.The three friends crossed the road at the lights and began to skip across the park.They were nearly at the other side when three fourth-grade boys leaped out from the bushes in front of them.‘M’randa’s mother’s a lezzo!’ they chanted.‘M’randa’s mother’s a lezzo!’The little girls moved closer together.Puzzled, Zoe and Michelle looked at each other and then at Moss, who was equally puzzled but on the defensive [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]