The Crossing book cover
Created: 9th May, 2022

from '336 days before'

I should have taken more videos of her.

I should have recorded every moment,

caught every breath,

savoured every laugh.


I touch the screen,

wanting to grab hold of her –

to reach through my phone and







I wish she was still here, Dad.


I know, love, I know.


Dad’s desperate to keep it together,

But he’s broken,

We      all        are.


We’ve kept our distance

These past few months,

keeping our sharp edges to




Getting too close

could cause a puncture

and then we’ll see it.

The emptiness.

The grief. It’ll leak out,

or pull us in.


Either way,

there’ll be no




My heart shifts a little,

knowing we’ll


be the same.


Knowing we won’t ever


like before.


Mum was like

winter socks.

She knew how to keep you warm.

She knew how to hold you.


Dad’s like fingerless gloves.

He tries, but he doesn’t quite

reach your edges –

the important bits –

the bits that really matter.


‘Watch this, Nat! Watch me!’

We stare at the screen as Mum

cartwheels straight into the sea

and then emerges, coughing

and laughing,

trying to catch her breath.


That laugh, Ryan says, smiling, and he’s right.


Mum was small,

but she was a powerhouse.

Big laugh.

Big smile.

Big heart.


Ryan slides his fingers across the screen

so we can watch the scene play out

again        and        again        and        again.


She was so passionate, wasn’t she, Dad?

Like about everything.


She was, Nat, he says. She cared too much, your mum.


You know what she’d say to that, don’t you?


What, Nat?


There’s no such thing. You can’t care too much.


© Manjeet Mann from The Crossing, Penguin Random House


Manjeet Mann - Extract from 336 days before