I think of her everyday.
I have a bookmark, made for her funeral, loose in the console of my car. As I drive to work and stop at the lights I handle the glossy card. The picture is of her on the phone, laughing. I imagine she is talking to a friend. Or perhaps she is talking to me.
She would be telling me about the Not Guilty verdict of Lloyd Rainey. Together we would scoff. She would be asking me to place a bet on a horse running in the Melbourne Cup. She would choose it because she liked the jockey or maybe the gelding’s name. She would be barracking for Obama.
I hold the card while I drive. Hi Mum.
I think of her everyday. I tell her stuff.
But it is different from when she was alive. Then, I was needed to do things. I had mandarins to buy. I had magazines to purchase. I had appointments to arrange. To drive to.
I grumbled to friends and family about the burden of the tasks. I felt smothered by her need to see me. Her joy, as a I entered her dimly lit room, only made me sigh.
To turn around now and say I miss her seems fickle. I feel unable to tell the people I complained to, that really it is simple, I miss her. I miss her everyday.
My life has a new rhythm without her in it. No nagging need to get this, do that. But. I miss her everyday.
No one is as interested in me in the greedy, consuming way she was. She had a need to know everything going on in my life. I, of course, hid it from her. I didn’t let her in. Not really. I kept it to myself. The way I do most things. From most people. Like a kid who shields their work with their cupped hand from the kid sitting next to them. Somehow petty. I wish I had shared more.
She would have been thrilled to hear about my recent trip to Sydney. She grabbed at stories. She gulped them in. She wanted my fulfillment. She wanted me to have happy experiences, with beautiful things. To stay in flash hotels and go to fancy restaurants. She wanted me to do the things she wished she had done, so I could tell her about them. I would watch her eyes fill with sparkle at the stories I would bring back from elsewhere. She could then have news for her carers and her hairdresser. She could be the entertainer then.
I imagine her sitting up in bed, watching the Presidential race. And Charles and Camilla happen to be in the country too. A feast of news. And Thank Goodness, no football. Her thin blue ankles on the plush throw rug. Her Hush Puppies by the bed. She will have a cold cup of tea on her tray. She will sip from it anyway. She will wrap the uninteresting biscuit in a Kleenex and put it with the others in the bedside drawer. I will attempt to ditch some older ones when she has her head turned.
I will give the flowers fresh water from the tap in her bathroom. I go through some letters she has piling up by the television and see what I can throw out. She will not allow any to be binned.
She will ask me to mark some dates in her diary. In here she writes which carer has given her the shower and who was on night duty. These are the things that are important to her. She will ask me to write when I am coming again. Is it tomorrow or the next day?