When I returned home I went into the kitchen and my partner and my ex-father-in-law were both looking for it. They’d emptied out the cutlery drawer and the cupboards to find this thing that must be found. In the bedroom a crew of Aunties were tearing open the lining in the drapes and pulling up the carpets and in the ensuite my twin was underneath the boiler with a set of spanners though I don’t believe it was lost in any bathroom. In the hallway I pass my elderly neighbours in overalls carefully making their way down the steep cellar steps. In the kitchen even my infant son, who’s strapped into his high chair is leaning forward prodding his fingers into the cracks of the table. I think everyone seemed to be so wrapped up in the business of searching that they hardly seemed to notice me.
When I looked in the back garden, I noticed my nephew he was working up a sweat and had dug several wide holes, some as big as foxholes. I gave him a half-wave through the window.
I thought perhaps the least I could do was to feed all these people in my house or just proffer them some light refreshments but by now the baby had fallen asleep at the table. I lifted him up out of his high chair. His cheek bore the print of the weave from the cloth. I placed him in his cot and checked underneath it again, just in case.
By nightfall, everyone was slowing down, they came in from the lofts and the cellars and the shed and in from the garden. Some of them were shaking their heads, others were whispering to each other. They all convened in the kitchen. They looked exhausted and some were still panting with exertion. Uncle took a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and put on his reading classes, someone else passed him the telephone.
The police liaison officer was a woman with kind blue eyes. She made me a cup of tea from my kitchen and offered me sugar and milk. She had a notebook and asked me gently questions about my day and where I had been.
Her questions stirred up a terrible confusion in my mind. She nodded understandably when I stumbled over an event or couldn’t quite reach the word I needed for certain parts of the day. She used her mobile phone a couple of times in the middle of my story but I couldn’t make out most of what she was saying.
I could hear the sirens outside in my neighbourhood but I couldn’t imagine it had anything to do with my situation. When I put the TV on, I saw pictures of a woman who looked just like me she was opening the door of a house that looked very much like mine. The policewoman gently took the remote control out of my hands and turned the screen off.
When they had left the aunties took me to the bathroom and helped me out of my clothes and eased me into my bed. They asked me to open my mouth and placed two pills on the centre of my tongue and urged me to swallow them with a glass of water.