By Harriet Gillian

“Mum… What’s dad doing?” Rachel asked, chewing on a carrot stick.

Her mum waved a large kitchen knife towards the window and paused. “Oh, umm. I think he’s building some kind of temple-ladder-platform-thing.”

She handed Rachel a scrappy sketch her father had done on the back of a water bill.

“Why?” Rachel asked.

Her mum dried her hands on a tea towel, lent against the work top and looked out of the kitchen window. “I’m not sure, actually.”

“He’s having a breakdown.” Rachel’s older brother, Miles, said stomping into the kitchen. 

Rachel’s mum flicked the tea towel at Miles’ legs. “He was looking at his old photos of Tibet and got a bit caught up I guess.”

“What, and just decided to build a temple?” Miles scoffed. 

“It’s a platform.” Rachel said handing Miles the sketch. He didn’t take it. 

“It’s a breakdown.” Miles said leaving the kitchen.

“Should we do something?” Rachel asked her mum.

Rachel’s mum thought about it. “Nah. Let him have it. This’ll happen to you one day, when you’re older and life’s a bit more normal than you’d thought it’d be.”

She took a green pepper out of the fridge, peeled off the barcode sticker and thwacked it in half with the kitchen knife. 

”Plus, it’ll give Joan next door something to talk about.”