Is-and, Claire Dean
His room was frustratingly bland. She’d expected posters, old CDs, plastic figurines, some traces of him having grown up here. There were just the paintings, more crochet and a crooked twig and wool cross above the bed. She’d read about the crosses, crosh cuirns they were called, in the guidebook. They used to be put up as protection against fairies. His mum obviously had a thing for them because they were all over the house. On the living-room mantelpiece there was a line-up of family photos including several of his brother and him as children, and also his wedding photo. His ex looked young and elegant. They looked happy. Next to it was one of a newborn baby in a blue hat. ‘He’s beautiful,’ she said. ‘Why didn’t you tell me you’re an uncle?’ He’d clattered the plates on to the table and gestured for her to sit.