When I was eight, maybe nine, my grandpa died. It became known in my family as the time of Bach’s six Cello Suites, a time when the only sound allowed in the Naidoo home was Bach, mostly the haunting Cello Suite number one in G major, lamenting off the turntable until even the stylus complained. My image of the time is my mother wandering around the house, oblivious to us all. She didn’t look like herself. Her entire being took on the shape and form of a Cubist Picasso painting, her edges all sharp and angular, her face contoured in pain, unrecognisable. It was the year my four-or five-year-old brother Shaun called our horriblest year ever. Horriblest became our word for the most awful time, but never again did the Naidoos experience such anguish. I remember the day grandpa died. The phone call came, predictably, in the dead of night, which was when my mother – weird behaviour, looking back on it now – woke us children from our beds to tell us our grandpa was dead. She began to pray...

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