I threw on some black jeans and a white top I found in the cupboard, and moved over to the dressing table, glancing in the mirror. Did I usually wear make-up, or use any other cosmetics? I took a quick review of the various bottles, tubs and tubes in neat piles on the surface. I couldn't decide.
I opened the door and looked down the passage. It was just the the upstairs landing of a normal townhouse, narrow and with several doors. I went left and down the wooden stairs, holding tightly to the banister. My ankles felt a bit dodgy. Perhaps I hadn't used them in a while.
I found my way to the living room, where a dark-haired blue-eyed boy and a dark-haired blue-eyed girl were sitting eating cereal, watching TV. I opened my mouth. Were they allowed to eat in the living room usually? Did I generally tell them off? But they didn't react to my presence beyond waving, their jaws moving up and down in sync as they chewed. Wolfgang and Wanda, my children.
I went through the living room, examining every clock and picture as I went, desperate and curious for clues to me and my life. I needed to remind myself. Whatever had happened to me, I needed to carry on. It was severe memory loss, or something. I couldn't remember. I just needed to know.
My children watched me with fascinated eyes sparkling like sapphires, something I found out later was a legacy from my mother's family, who all had sapphire eyes.
Soon enough I found a phone book, and, first looking guiltily around, I opened it and started flicking through the pages.
Firstly I checked the surname MacLilley, my old surname, I knew, I remembered, from somewhere. There was one number under that surname, highlighted yellow, reading P and M MacLilley, Greenwater Cottage. The number too rang a bell.
My sisters? I leafed through to the O section. O'Riley. N and E O'Riley. E? That couldn't be Lizzie. That meant she hadn't married to Nigel. But I did a double take. The next moment my heart skipped a beat. Of course! Lizzie's name was Elizabeth, and that would be entered on the phonebook, most likely. So Lizzie had married her long-time-ago boyfriend Nigel, in theory. I wondered if they had any children.
I didn't know what might have become of Minnie as regards surnames, so I flicked backwards through the book and came across a highlighted number in the K section. M and M Kincaid. That could be Minnie, I thought. Had I ever known a Kincaid? I racked my brains, and a memory came back to me.
I'd been about ten years old, and our school had a tennis tournament. Lizzie and I had been the best girls, by a long way, and we beat all the other girls. Consequently they put us to play a pair of boys, brothers, who were also quite good at tennis. The brothers were called Monty and Bailey Kincaid, Bailey about two years younger than us, Monty a few months older. I recall Bailey constantly talking as we had our set, mainly about food. Monty talked almost as much, and he struck me as quite shallow. But he was good-natured, and certainly I could imagine Minnie marrying him as much as anyone, and more than most people.
"What are you doing, Mummy?" asked the girl at one point.
I half-turned, taking in the girl's slight figure and long wavy hair. Her eyes were so trusting, and she looked as if dependant on me. I was her mother, and I loved her in a way I had not loved anyone ever before. It was a maternal pride for my daughter, eight years late.
"Nothing," I said.