When I got home, the crisis team were standing around Mum, who was on the sofa, drunk again. To be honest I was angry, but I stayed near the door, trying to be an impartial observer or a piece of furniture.
Once Mum saw I was there, she got up and sort of seized me around the shoulders and sat us down again. She kept a grip on me all the time Greg and the others were talking to her. She was in a terrible state. She was doing her best to be coherent and normal, but her words were slurred, she hadn't brushed her hair properly and there were soup stains down her pyjamas.
The team explained she was still hysterical after her encounter with the social worker and did I know if my mother had been supplied with drugs at all? I said I didn't know but I began to suspect the worst. She wouldn't let go of me for a full hour and a half. Finally she asked me to get a cup of tea for Greg and the others, so I got up. I was in the kitchen knocking a cup of tea together and then hear the inevitable banging and wailing. They managed to haul her off the floor. I rushed back in and insisted they at least give her something to put on over her nightie. If we met Kimberley Wotsit in the street she's probably take pictures and that's the last thing we want.
I told them I'd hold the fort until she could come back home. They're taking her to the nearest hospital until she's calmed down. She hates it there. She was there once before while we were living together. Whenever I went to visit then, she kept telling me this idea she had about moving to Devon.
I sat there feeling sorry for myself for a bit, then I saw the greengrocer's van pull up outside the flats. I ran down thinking it would be Shelby, and it was. I pulled her away from the grocer as quickly as I could and I think she was grateful.
When something like this happens, I instantly snap into efficiency mode. It's easier than being stressed or worried or angry, whatever it is. So I made her a cup of tea and let her story come first. As it happened, hers was very dramatic. Her parents have done their best to ruin her financially and she doesn't have anywhere else to go at the moment. Of course I had to offer her a place here, and I was glad to. I like Shelby a lot.
She was practically in tears by the time she'd finished telling me everything, so I did what I do for Mum when she's crying. It always works. I have to get up first to find toilet tissue and I hand her a bit so she can mop herself up a bit. Then I give her a hug and get the blanket out of the cupboard. Mum likes the blanket because it was knitted by her grandma. It's covered in pictures of cats for some reason.
Shelby got under the blanket eventually, although she seemed reluctant to let me help her at all. And I really wish I could help her.