Victoria, London 1997, Brad the psychologist

It wasn’t until she hung up the phone that she realised. Thirty-six. Diana was thirty-six, the same age as Victoria’s mother when she died—the same age as Victoria now.

It was what that psychologist Brad had said. Victoria had been to see him three months ago, prompted by her friend Claire, who knew of him through another friend. Victoria was stressed and anxious and didn’t know why.

Brad told her she was suffering from delayed grief, as if he was some sort of detective of the mind and he’d solved her crime. She was thirty-six, and her mother had been thirty-six when she died. Snap!

Brad called Victoria a strong woman, she remembered now, said he liked strong women. She’d laughed with Claire about it afterwards. ‘I like strong women,’ Claire had said, making eyes at Victoria.

The True Story of Maddie Bright, available NOW at community-loving bookstores like Avid Reader, Riverbend and Anna’s Shop Around the Corner.