Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Little bookmarks made especially for you with the briefest of paintbrush strokes. The suggestions of birds in flight, butterflies on the wing, blushing sweetheart roses. Always signed at the back with a “Bless You” or “You’re Special to Me”. Stashed hither and yon in half-read books, research volumes, marking revisited poems. Out she pops to say hello when a book falls open and you smile, she’s everywhere on your bookshelves, you think. In the best possible way.
Her wedding five years ago is what you most remember. She had been in a miserable marriage for more years than her friends wish to remember. He had retired and they moved back to the small town of their childhood to be near her mother. And he died suddenly within the year, a handsome, cold philanderer. And within a week, her mother gets a call from B.C. From her high school sweetheart. Who heard about the death of the husband and wanted to know if he should call, would she be receptive. She was. And within six months they were married. Lavishly. Her three married daughters were astonished and a little chagrined at the speed of it all. It was well, unseemly, to marry another so rapidly after the forty-year marriage to their father, wasn’t it?
No, her friends thought. Not at all. If you even knew half of the story of that icy arrangement. But he was your father after all. And no one will speak ill of the dead around you three.
She looked lusciously happy, almost giddy in her delight at marrying the five times married before groom who had never gotten over his first love. Or she hers.
Her body was an endless loop of pain, some days worse than others. Every invitation was responded to with: “If it’s a good day for me.”. Some weren’t. The last time you saw her was way up in northern Ontario where she heard you were giving a speech. She never had a driver’s licence but had arranged for an over 100km drive just to see you. And it wasn’t a good day pain-wise for her. But she said she felt it was important. One never knows, she said, over dinner at the local inn, but we just need to be there for each other, when we can.
She died last night. They think it was an aneurysm. They’re not sure. An autopsy has been scheduled.
She had left a long message on your answering machine at Christmas.
You never did get around to calling her back.