John and I drive in separate cars to see mum. Phone calls from my husband, from two of my close friends, location updates from June: I’m in Childers. The house is closed, locked and bolted. I drive in the silence of my mother’s old car, the radio has lost its knob.
I haven’t been to the hospital in the morning, so this is new to me. (I've been too sick)
Across the next parking allotment sits a huge tree, itself a forest of sprouting small figs. The multi-trunks span the entire block. Is it one tree? Just one tree? No, it’s a series, an orchard. Maybe not, it’s very confusing as the limbs intertwine and weave their way skyward.
Dog shit dots the pavement. My feet tango in between.
Above Rocky sky throws up a treat of fairy floss clouds, wistfully moving in slow motion to the east.
Bending in the back garden to throw handfuls of rose food to budding tight fists of reds and yellows, a butterfly glides past my cheek so closely I can feel the soft puff of wind as it flaps lazily by.
If a butterfly sneezes….I ponder.
My mouth makes an O like Jonathon, but no ‘wheelbarrow full of surprises'; only earthy fresh garden soil, and the steady drone of the garden sprinkler as it breathes new life into the citrus trees. I watch in fascination the purple and blue of the black winged butterfly. He dances a hiccupy flight meandering through mum’s yard. He makes no point of arrival, simply enjoys the journey wherever it may take him.
Hot chocolate and mud cake make a wonderful friend on days when you need to sit and think and talk. John and I collapse into seats facing the street, waiting to share some time together and discuss mum, our favourite subject. Last night he told me quietly that he read my writing essays from Year 7 at Berserker Street State School, when he went there the following year to begin his teaching career.
“I have always remembered your writing,” he says.
Because I’m your little sister?
“No, because it was bloody good, and in the 42 years I have been teaching ever since, I have never read anything like it.”
I’m stunned, and yes, flattered. He looks at me with his straight gaze. I grin madly back, like his little kid sister.
At the front door work two men in pull on boots. The ones with elastic sides. They are struggling with the sliding security door, it seems they have NOT measured twice and cut once. So now it’s too short.
Battery drills and crashing and banging and the odd mutter permeate the lounge room. The screen screeches with glee, the men adjust the screws, it shrieks again, giddy with the naughtiness of not doing what they want. Discussions are held over pop rivet guns, the tracks finally gliding the door into behaving after much ado.
To be continued...