Lesson 41 on Mothering
Josephine had a reason to be fierce. She was an urban tigress protecting her young. Only in Josephine’s case, it was her younger sister Glenice.
Josephine was almost at school leaving age and Glenice was in the first year. As far as I could gather, Josephine had more or less brought her sister up. The family situation was what you might, at best, call fluid. Josephine and Glenice were full sisters in the midst of a confusion of step and half siblings housed under a number of different roofs on the estate. Mr Deputy had actually made out a chart, so that we could remember who was related to whom.
Josephine’s powers of organisation were astonishing. She and Glenice were always on time and never absent. They ate a hot breakfast and lunch at school, so that they could manage if the gas/electricity had been cut off at home. I don’t know how they coped with the washing, but perhaps Josephine went to the launderette. They were always clean and tidy.
There wasn’t any shortage of money in the house, but it was best not to enquire too deeply into where it came from. The lack of services was down to a general antipathy to paying bills, rather than poverty. The girls never complained.
Half the trouble Josephine got into, was caused by standing up for her younger sister, usually against members of staff trying to teach her something. Glenice had no respect for anybody or anything, except Josephine. She stormed and shrieked if she didn’t get her own way. Josephine’s uncritical adoration and selfless care had been truly admirable, but unfortunately it had resulted in a somewhat spoilt little princess.
Yet exasperating as their behaviour was in school, it had to be acknowledged that they had something that many of the other pupils lacked. They had the confidence of being unconditionally valued, just for themselves.
Each was the centre of another person’s universe.
They were with the one they loved.