Madness creeps into a person’s life slowly they say. Sanity slowly takes on a different shape, sheds its skin. The flesh is exposed and starts throwing bubbles upwards at first, like water when it is brought to the boil. Rage is propelled at whomever or whatever is governing our fate from so high above us. Discord leads to denial, and so it begins that everything and everyone within the sphere of madness is made suffer.

The first time it happened Lisa gathered up her five-year-old daughter in her arms and rushed outside, banging the door shut behind them.

“Why did granny shout at us? Is she really not my granny?”

What clever questions five-year-olds can ask! She’ll probably still remember all this when she’s my age and has a child of her own.

“She was just upset darling. Of course she is your granny, and she loves you very much. Oh look! We’re just in time for the morning prayers.” Lisa closed the cast iron gate behind them and they ran up the gravel path toward Sister Egreda.

She was relieved to get away from her daughter, the other children, their parents, Sister Egreda’s inquisitive gaze, and the hustle and bustle of the kindergarten after the prayers had been said. Never before had she seen such anger and aggressiveness – both verbal and physical – in her mother.

“She shouted at me, I hate you, you’re not my daughter, and slapped me in front of the child. And I had no idea that that was the beginning of this,” Lisa told the doctor.

“Had I known, I wouldn’t have been so angry and impatient with her, wouldn’t have stopped visiting her. Miss Nolan’s cat might still be alive, and her dad mightn’t be in intensive care with a skull fracture.”

(C) Ash. N. Finn, 2012

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