This modern story about conflict between a mother and her teenage daughter was published in 1991. The mother is the narrator of the story, so we only see things from her point of view.
A woman who is deeply upset lies in her daughter's darkened bedroom. She clutches a pair of new white trainers that were a present for her daughter.
In the first sentence, we discover that the narrator is telling the story to another character - the daughter - but the daughter is not there to hear it. This style of writing is sometimes called a monologue [monologue: An extended speech performed by one person only ], because there is only one character speaking or thinking.
Her 15-year-old daughter has run away from home. The woman worries that her daughter may have to beg for food to survive, or that she has been forced to become a prostitute.
We are told there was an argument between the father and daughter. Bad language was used on both sides.
The doctor has signed the narrator off work; she is taking medication. The mother aims to pretend to the outside world that everything is okay, but fears her daughter may be dead, or at least living on the streets.
We learn more about the argument. The daughter is brought home drunk at 3am. The father calls her a 'dirty slut'.