My mother calls to tell me she has just seen Daddy in the clouds again. I am standing at my front door, saying goodbye to the plumber who has fixed my leaky toilet for the umpteenth time. As I write him a check he tells me the old toilet is past its prime and I laugh and say well I am too and I’m still here. And he laughs right back. Every time we do this.
Today as I wave him off and hold my phone against my ear and hear the joy in my mother’s voice, I don’t even look up at the sky. I can feel the sun, beating down unnaturally for October, drying out the ground and me along with it. My eyeballs vibrate with the effects of the heat. The sky’s blue is an artifact of this drought. I have become irritated by the blue of a clear sky, and as the days peel by I become more and more unraveled.
Not so for my mother. She walks her assisted living compound with the support of a four pronged cane and the coolness of air conditioned walkways that are enclosed in glass, showcasing the still greens of trees and blues of sky. She walks alone, and even though everyone knows her and speaks to her by name, it’s usually just a smile she will give them, or a nod, before she continues on her way.
I used to wonder how much emptiness had filled her thoughts, or if the wheel just turned with one, singular thought crowding all the others. She has the bad days when the threads of a thought are just beyond her reach, but then that minute passes and she is walking again and content with all that surrounds her and in the thoughts that only she can hear, and in the magic of the day when Daddy appears in the clouds on a clear blue day.
I look for the gray days ahead, and the beating down of the rains on my skin as I walk the paths to my mother’s door. Knowing she will wonder where Daddy is, and where she is, and who I am. I long for these days to finally arrive and fear that when they do, I will lose too much of who I am. Each day I wake to clear mornings with relief and anxiety releasing in a single breath. This cloudless blue cannot last.
Richmond, VA USA.