Nope, this isn't my mother or grandmother. It's just the plastic Dutch woman who stands above our shop, supposedly to entice the customers in to buy our FARM FRESH PICKED TODAY fruit and veg. Actually my mother, who runs the shop, is exactly the opposite. She's tall and skinny, with long dark hair and she always looks perfect and she has never worn an apron in her life even though she never stops cooking and gardening and driving the tractor and dazzling the customers with her smiles and casting a spell over them with her voice that sounds like honey and then running to the bank with loads of cash and at the end of the day tucking me into bed and bending over to kiss me so her lavender perfume makes my eyes water and then going back to the kitchen to bake real Dutch treats for the Saturday market I swear I have never seen a speck of dirt on her clothes. She is perfect.

Except for the bags under her eyes because she never sleeps.

It's true. Once I had a bad dream and got up in the middle of the night and went into her bedroom and the bed was still made and she wasn't in the kitchen either although the lights were blazing and then I heard the telly going beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee because it was a channel that didn't go all night and there was Mum lying on the sofa all curled up except for one leg which was crookedly over the edge of the sofa and the knitting she was doing was dangling from her lap to the floor and when I tugged her little finger she opened her eyes as if she had just been asleep for a second and said, 'What is it, darling?' and in a minute we were eating hommus on Sao biscuits and drinking a milkshake which was at least half full of strawberries that had been fresh picked only eight hours ago so I got calming milky stuff to send me to sleep and vitamin C to protect me from the wog that was going around and when Mum had tucked me back into bed instead of kissing me goodnight again she lay down beside me and said, 'I haven't slept on a bed for a long time, darling. Not since...' And then her voice trailed off and she just lay there looking at the ceiling until she reached over me and switched off the light and I lay there pretending to sleep but just enjoying the warmth of my mother's long body next to me thinking how nice it was to sleep next to a person and not all by yourself because it might protect you from bad dreams.

Which got me thinking that my dumb father shouldn't have left us, should he? Because then Mum wouldn't be afraid of getting into a cold bed all by herself and she wouldn't be afraid of bad dreams (though she says to me she never dreams I don't believe her) and she wouldn't have to work hard to make ends meet though the amount of money she makes in the shop makes me think we can't be that hard up and the other day I heard her talking on the phone to her accountant about shares and stocks and only three more years till something so I suppose she won't have to work hard any more.

And then she and I will be happy together for ever and we will travel the world and won't ever think about Jason who I love, too, but who always gives us hard things to do that we don't want to do.

I don't know why we get sucked in by Jason. Mum gets sucked in and so do I.