She came to Dad’s funeral in a loose black dress. Mum didn’t know who she was. None of us did. Someone from work perhaps. There was a big crowd—he was that kind of bloke—so we thought nothing of it. But at the end of the service she sought me out. ‘You’re Jonathon, Dick told me all about you. I think we need to talk.’
It was the sort of thing that newspapers call a double life. She tried to tell me it wasn’t like that. Though Mum struggled—who could blame her—his will made it clear. Maybe the hardest part was that I liked her. Miriam was more than a piece of fluff he’d had on the side. She was warm and generous and thoughtful. And I was glad I’d come to know her. As I rocked my tiny half-sister to sleep I thought about Mum and Des and Conrad, cut off from me now and missing all this. And I thought about Dad—anger and love and pity and wonder. Maybe she knew him better than any of us at the end.