- 22 Apr 20
In the Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency Issue, Irish stars and cultural figures pen 'Letters From Home' – offering their personal takes on the COVID-19 crisis.
I told mother a few years ago I couldn’t give blood because I had scarlet fever as a child. “You never had it,” she said.
“But I was in the hospital,” I said. “You never had it,” she said again, with an accusatory tone.
“I remember you and Dad coming up to the hospital and looking in the high window,” I said.
“You never had it.”
“I remember thinking you and Dad had shrunk, ‘cause the window was only a few feet off the floor on my side, but you couldn’t reach up to see in the little square window, because I had thrown the porridge out and you didn’t want to stand in it.”
“You never had it,” she said with deadly deadpan.
“Then why was I in hospital?” I said. “I had the symptoms.”
“You never had scarlet fever,” she said again. This time her tone conveyed that she had NOT been remiss in keeping either me or the house clean.
“Ok,” I said, “I never had it. But I remember you and Dad standing at the end of the bed in the front room, holding hands and being really worried, and the ambulance arriving – and I remember the hospital with no wallpaper on the walls. And I remember everybody in Abercorn Road being really scared they would get it.”
A blank look from Ma…
So I go, “I didn’t have it.”
My mother just looked at me. I couldn’t make out what her expression meant, other than that I had an overactive imagination.
Obviously I wanted to be like the other kids who got it. But according to Ma I never had it. So now I try to keep my imagination in check and ignore the corona. I hope it ignores me.
Read more Letters From Home in the new Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency Issue – available to buy in shops and order online now.