Sitting in the car, chatting to my Youngest, waiting for sisters to arrive for our planned brunch. Uh oh, here comes Carolyn, grim faced and trembling chin. It’s not going to be good news. I scramble out of the car, a gaggle of Mother’s Day wishes hurriedly snatched from my son’s mouth as he utters each word.
Overhead, a loose flock of pigeons wheel and turn like confetti in the blue Rockhampton sky; such a mad mob. A few of them break free, flapping this way and that, no idea where they are going; they must be young.
Other pigeons fly in an orderly circle, how hard can it be, but the youngsters fall over the sky in random order, like starving kids in the school Tuckshop line.
My two sisters fill me in on what the doctor said, what the nurse said, what mum has told them. Stories are shared, options discussed. It’s grim. We sit there – shocked at the future being pushed towards us – we unwilling participants of this slow motion car crash called life. And death.
Driving through the city centre on Sunday afternoon, I see two old cowboys, playing the fiddle. It could be a violin, but come on, they are cowboys, and it’s unlikely to be such an instrument, but you never know. They stand bow legged, white hats and denim jeans, arms bent and I have to imagine the music they are playing. I’ll have to simply imagine, for now.
In the centre of East Street is an old fig tree, it’s massive branches carved off like butter. Upright limbs stretch skywards, as if asking to be saved from man's chainsaws.
Old wounds are painted with grey, and cracks and splits in the bark are bogged with putty. I should get some for mum’s hip! In contrast, to the left stands an elegant Royal Palm, dignified in the classic shape of nobility. It makes the poor old fig tree look like the dog’s breakfast it has become. It’s not a suitable street tree, at all, what were they thinking?
Arriving home to phone calls, Skype video calls (‘What time is it? It’s 3am. What on earth are you ringing at this hour for?’ We rouse gently). A bottle of champagne is produced. Girls? Pink champers or normal?
No one cares, just open something, anything, and start to pour. We pause our minds for a minute to stop - STOP - and clink; Happy Mother’s Day, here’s to our children, and our mum. Clink. Sip. Ahhh, bliss. Back to rushing around.
To be continued…