A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

People say that things happen in threes. Those people should try spending five minutes with my family. In the few months I came home from University, it seemed a day didn't go by without there being a family crisis. I'd come back from a lockdown walk and a toe would be dislocated or there would be an army of plants in the bath. This time, there was a car accident. Despite the lockdown, our neighbours hired a painter for their new extension. Their drive is wide and well-tarmacked and I've often seen four or more cars parked upon it. So when the painter parked his van at the top of the drive, I was a little confused. I'm sure you can see where this is going. When Nana backed into the van, she burst out laughing. As Mum put it, she didn't have a leg to stand on, but all she could do was laugh. As you can imagine, when the painter emerged, he wasn't too impressed at the bright red scratch running the length of his vehicle. "Give me your phone number, so we can do this privately," he said. Nana kept laughing. "No," she said between breaths. "No, I don't think I will." The painter demanded an explanation. But what could she tell him? That it had been less than a year since we'd lost Grandad, less than a year since the three of us had fought COVID-19, huddling together, watching his funeral on Zoom, unable to mourn in our way? That she wanted she run over our neighbour's flowers or drive the car into the pub she and Grandad used to visit? So Nana laughed and they exchanged insurance numbers. And inside the house my Grandad built, three generations - Mum, Nana and I - all sat around the fireplace, laughing until our chests ached.

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