Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mum – Part 12

Mum’s blue eyes twinkle as she speaks. “They wheeled me out of the room for a while, and when I returned I had a new bed! The staff are so pleased with themselves, what a surprise.”

And she shows off to her concerned and eager audience of children, pressing the remote, up. Down. Up. Down.

It’s lovely to watch her play, as it’s exactly the sort of bed we were hoping for her. It will take the pressure of her fractured hip and ease getting in and out of bed.
A large orange hibiscus is picked from the garden to brighten the room – for a day.


At home on the back deck, the parrots are squabbling over cut dew melon. Mr Bossy struts around in his pigeon-toed way, a cranky rainbow of attitude, chasing the timid parrots to hide in between the parsley growing in pots.

They take turns to splash in the large birdbath, and fly to the tree with a noisy whirl of feathers.


Driving in the afternoon to see mum. A tired old Queenslander house - plain and ugly – sits sadly on a large corner allotment. Dead cars sprinkle the garden. Behind the frosted glass louvers I can see 3 women – one elderly – sitting and looking to the passing world of traffic.

What is their world, I wonder.

Errant husbands, wayward sons, have abandoned their broken cars for the grass to grow through. Old car bodies lie like discarded shoes on a bedroom floor.

The women peer out from behind their slatted view, half hiding, half exploring the world. When you look at this house, you quickly look away. It burdens the eye. Look harder, look deeper, and see the mothers and daughters behind the windows.

A lace curtain flaps tiredly, waving hello. Goodbye.


John cooks up a Mediterranean Chicken dish for dinner. Thighs, olives, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, he places the meal in front of us with a grin and a glass of Cab Sav wine. We cannot keep up the praise fast enough, it’s delicious, and we adore the love and care he gave us with the meal.

Thank you John, thanks mate.

Later we sit and chat over our lives, holding our children up this way and that, looking at perspectives and noting the changes. It’s good bonding time.

Carolyn snores in chorus from her bedroom.

We smile and sip our sticky wine. It’s almost bedtime and an early start, things need to be done, packed and organised before the 6am start. Goodnight, sleep well.


Today I might see an old friend, who works at the hospital as an Orderly. Or maybe he’s a Wardsman. Whatever. It will be interesting to see him again, as the last time we met – in the Cricketers Arms pub in Newcastle – he told me he was to marry.

He wanted to meet me ‘one last time, just to be sure.'

I assured him he was ‘good to go’ and wished him well.

When mum was admitted, he recognised her name and enquired after me. “I used to live with your daughter Patty, Mrs Warby.”

And he did too, until I threw him out. Ah…young love, young lovers.


To be continued…

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