Damn, damn, it’s a glorious day, not a gratifying fleck in the sky. I have no tears left; my pillow has soaked them all. Jim’s stare had burned into the ceiling the whole night, we didn’t share a wink of sleep; we didn’t say a word. He dressed silently and slipped out without a glance. She must be all chirpy, hanging out for her weekly ride to Rosemary’s lookout. It’s a little hilltop that offers stunning views of Mornington bay in all its glory. On a day like this you can see all those yachts with their white sails, blending in with the seagulls. The emerald green of the surf, which alternates with deep and light blue as the sun plays, is truly a treat. The quaint trail to the top is via a shady Pine and Eucalypts copse. During the spring wild orchids and grevilleas vie for prime spots where the pine needles have spared the soil. She just loves it; thank goodness spring is long gone. In a way it helped that I loved this spot as well, we were brainwashed with it when we were kids. I brainwashed my kid with the same, there was no spite in that of course. I have to dress her up; I had cleaned up her wheelchair last night. She is a stickler for hygiene. But the last thing I feel right now is resentment. Then again, I have been at her beck and call all these years, despite the curses; which she never heard. I am sure I loved her, I still do I think. She became an invalid five years ago when she broke her back on the bathroom marble. I never really gave her a chance to miss her lifeless legs; I can feel something like sanity beginning to stir.
I must brace for that toothless grin, she looks absolutely hideous without her dentures. But I have never shown it; it has been a sheer act of will. Her gums leap out as she sees me; I want to feel revulsion, it even looks horribly cute. The gums are still on display; the weather has really given her the thumbs up. My senses have developed immunity to the stench of urine. I dress her up in her favorite cotton skirt and blouse with the garish floral pattern. She looks shocked as I give her a hug; her arms strong enough to detain me. My eyes smart and I thought I had drained all those tears. She is just skin on bones.
The sun just feels balmy on the skin, much as I had feared. The sky is still one insipid patch of bright blue. She breaks into a gentle hum, Que Sera Sera, my favorite childhood song; she seems hell bent on inflicting maximum pain. She is trying hard to crane her neck, to catch my face; see if I remember. Almost an invite to join in, I give her shoulders a gentle rub. I still have bloody tears left. I can already feel the salty breeze; surely it can’t be that close, I quicken my steps. Sure enough the start of the little winding path at the foot of the tiny hill pops into view. I don’t even feel her weight as I negotiate the rough trail through the grove. The delicious cool of the leafy tunnel drinks up the sweat. There isn’t a single flower in sight, cause for some consolation. The breeze is gathering strength; I can see the explosion of light at the end of the tunnel and the filmy strip of blue sea shimmering in the distance. My legs are getting dodgy; my heart might thump itself out any minute. The sun blinds me and the wind takes me off guard as we emerge. She wriggles on her chair like a dizzy little kid. I push her closer to the edge; she sucks in the view with sheer desperation. Her fingers are clenched into fists, that’s her rebuke to frantic excitement. Her broad smile baits my guts; the dentures do make a huge difference.
Surely a slight push can’t be that hard.
The wheelchair is quite heavy; the trip down took forever. I am out of the tunnel; the sky is still a cheery blue. The strains of Que Sera sera, turns back the clock, I can’t remember when I started humming. She is fast asleep on the armrest. We had spent a marathon four hours at Rosemary’s lookout. We had watched the sea change colours and we had invited the wind to rough us up. I had kicked the pine needles like a maniac to find that stubborn orchid or grevillea; there was none in sight. But I couldn’t stop it. I was a little girl again and it felt good.
The house brings our joys to an end.
I hope I have enough guts next time, but days with such glorious weather are hard come by.
Jude C. Perera is a CPA with an addictive fascination for creative writing. He prefers a story with a good sting in its tail, and crazy visions of publishing a full length novel plague his dreams.
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