The other evening, he sat close to her, reminiscing about when his mother had passed away, and exactly how the tasks of emptying her vacated apartment had been completed. A rare bonding experience for him and his brother; they had operated in harmonious tune with one another.
She was, as always, admiring of his incredible resilience and efficiency.
She boasted to him, in turn, of how she’d acted as witness and attempted comforter during so much grief in the past few years, that she had managed to somehow run through all its stages in record time, perhaps even during the first phone call, in which she had received the news, and during the strangely premonitory feeling she’d had in the time before it came. (Though she didn’t hold much stock in premonitions; after all, they only become truly evident in retrospect. And thoughts have their sometimes-frightening way of creating reality…)
And she reminisced on how she’d left nearly everything of her mother’s there, exactly as it was, in the house of her father, who had not minded what she’d done with it, either way.
She’d photographed everything, and perhaps she would never look upon the photos again, or perhaps she would look upon them daily, walking into her mother’s now-past life from afar. Either way, in the very act itself, she’d framed the last days of her mother’s life, or at least the visible parts of it, forever like a set of slides in her mind.
In hindsight, she thought to herself, sipping a glass of Bonne Nouvelle, she found it remarkably odd that she’d never opened any notebook, diary, no set of old letters. And she thought herself a writer! Perhaps this disproved the fact.
“What?” said her husband, incredulously. He was reacting to her spoken thoughts, not her private ones.
She’d been there for two weeks. He’d assumed she’d “taken care of things.”
She’s as surprised at his reaction, as he’d been at this apparent news. She’d already told him about the appointment-filled days, the exhausted evenings; the visits with long-time-no-seen friends and family.
A tumble of words pours out, as though the drink has transformed to sound.
“It’s different than it was with your mom. Your mom had been renting… the apartment had to be cleared out… you aren’t much for sentimental things… quick at making decisions… my dad’s still there, I’d wanted to document some aspects of her life before it’s dispersed… there was a lot to do to get him on his feet…and…anyway, there was no need to move her things out. They’re still living together,” she finalizes, matter-of-factly.
As that last phrase drops out, they look at each other.
She knows what he must be thinking. Maybe he was right.
She bursts into tears, confirms it aloud. “Maybe I am in denial.”
But she also knows that what she’d said was true, and made perfect sense, to some extent.
He puts down his beer.
Sobbing, she suddenly feels his heartbeat against her ear.
I’m finding it easier to write in third person lately. Just rolling with it.
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Auvergne, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎