‘Are you joking?’ my mother scoffed from behind her basket of washing. ‘I have to assume you’re joking.’
‘We’re serious, Mum,’ I said with a sigh, looking over to my sister Ruby for support.
‘It’s just the next step we think you need,’ Ruby said quickly, layering onto my point. ‘There’s no shame in—’
‘Oh, well, if there’s no shame in it,’ our mother rolled her eyes. ‘Then just sign me up now! In fact, why don’t you two sign up for a community nurse as well!’
‘Mum, be serious—’ Ruby started.
‘Oh, but I am being serious!’ she cut her off. ‘Just as serious as you two are being!’
‘Why don’t I find a company that does support coordination work! Near the Adelaide CBD, so you’re not too lonely away from your family.’
‘We’re trying to help you!’ I shouted, on my feet without even realising it.
‘Don’t yell at me in my own home!’ she growled. A full foot shorter than me, and she met my gaze with no problem.
‘You have to listen to us,’ Ruby said quietly. ‘And know that we care about you. We’re not trying to put you into a home, we’re trying to—’
‘Oh, of course, you are,’ she said, almost spitting. ‘That’s all this has ever been about. You want to sell the house out from under me and make off like bandits!’
‘Believe it or not,’ I said coolly, ‘I didn’t spend the better part of my weekend looking up how to get NDIS service just to steal your tablecloths.’
‘Hmph,’ she said, returning to vigorously folding her washing.
‘Well, we tried,’ I said to Ruby with a sigh. ‘Not much more we can do.’
‘I’ll meet you outside,’ Ruby said, motioning with her eyes that she wanted me to leave the room. I frowned at her, but did as she was gesturing.
I briefly paused to say goodbye to my mother… then decided against it and walked away instead.