We were sitting around the fireplace in Estelle's farmhouse drinking wine. Lydia's mother was lucid for most of the evening and we had a few laughs bringing up memories from the days back when. Lydia listened with great interest to the stories about the time her mother was in love and she herself was conceived.
'I could never really love that man, you know,' Estelle claimed. 'Pádraig . He was infatuated with that woman he left behind in Ireland.'
'Well,' Lydia interrupted, 'he is still my father.'
'He's not,' Estelle said and dozed off. Lydia took the wine glass from her mother's hand and put it back on the table.
'When I reached puberty, mother told me that Pádraig, who claimed to be my father and who all my life had come to stay with us at least twice a year, was not my biological father.' Lydia moved her chair a little closer to mine and whispered. 'She said there is not a drop of Irish blood in my veins. She said I was half Dutch.' Lydia looked at me with eyes large as silver coins. 'I hope I haven't slept with my father last night, Mr. Erik Beken.'
'Absolutely not!' I exclaimed, perhaps a little too forcefully. Estelle moved in her chair but did not wake up. 'Your mother and I never had the kind of relationship that could produce a child. In that little apartment she had in Carcassonne we kissed, fumbled and fondled, but we never... well, you know, went all the way.'
'Well, that's a relief. But anyhow, I consider Pádraig as my dad, a long distance dad, perhaps, but still. He's always been good to me.'
Estelle woke up and reached for her glass. She looked at me as if focussing on something that was beyond her understanding.
'You're not Yosht,' she said decisively and took a sip of her wine.
'That's correct, Estelle, I'm Erik. When did you last see Yosht?'
'Yesterday. He was here yesterday. And he brought a monk along.' Estelle had trouble keeping her eyes open. Lydia almost imperceptibly shook her head and behind her hand whispered to me that her mom's memories were a chaotic clutter of disconnected facts and dreams. 'Yesterday, last week, last year, it's all the same to her. I am glad she still recognizes me as her daughter.'
'He wanted the woman in the glass,' Estelle said dreamily.
'Mother!' Lydia shouted and Estelle sat up in her chair with a frightened look on her face. 'What are you saying? That Yosht was here and took my fathers stained glass window?' Lydia got up and dashed into the other room. I got up to follow her.
'It's gone!' she cried, pointing at a pale spot on the wall.