It’s morning, at last. Darkness scurries west, hiding from the day.
Such a long night.
Coughing, blowing my nose, tossing in my makeshift bed on the floor of the loungeroom.
Outside it's windy; the parrots are hanging off the screen door, waiting impatiently for their bread and honey. One hangs upside down, what a clown!
In the distance I can hear my sisters chat quietly, the jug comes to a rolling boil, cups are stirred. I am surrounded by a sea of tissues, and I am full of snot and mucus. How bloody annoying! Deciding not to join my sisters at church, I roll over and close my puffy eyes for more sleep. I haven’t had a bad cold for the past 5 years, and now, today of all days, here I am. Unclean! Unclean! So annoyed at myself.
‘Look behind the potatoes' I croak to Carolyn, and she digs out the large box of dark Lindt chocolates for Mother’s Day. I plan to eat at least 3 of them myself, although I doubt if I could taste them. I’ll just pretend.
Carolyn brings me a hot cup of tea, and waves Panadol at me. Thanks sis.
My voice sounds like a 13 year old. If I wasn’t so sick I’d burst out laughing at myself, how I sound. I honk my nose again.
When the girls leave, when my sisters drive away from this girl’s house, leaving me and my tissue landfill, I make myself another cup of tea.
This is such a girl’s house, now. On the walls there are 35 paintings, all original. We are a house of enthusiastic artists and collectors of memories and photographs. Good paintings hang above terrible, but much loved paintings. We look at them both, and appreciate the care and memory.
Some of dad’s paintings hang above the window, scenes of early days at Lockhart River Mission, us naked happy children running with freedom in our salty hair. Above the television stand a group of grandchildren photos, in various stages of smiles, teeth and life.
The frames jostle for prominence.
They are treasured and carefully replaced with each fresh batch of images. This girl’s house is surrounded by security, now. Lights, doors, mesh, screens, it is a bolt house for us women. No men guard us here. It’s a girl’s house with Adorable written in diamonds on the bathroom mirror, false pearls strung like party lights across the toilet window; the seat remains down, always.
Music seeps through, classical music. Always music, and art.
It’s mum’s house, except there is no mum here, now.
I light a candle for her, for Mother’s Day.
Later, in the hot shower, I stand and let the water drown me, spilling over my shoulders, across my back, to the floor. There are 3 soaps, 2 liquid bath lotions, 5 types of shampoo. It’s such a girl’s house, this home.
To be continued…