Tuesday, January 4, 2011

At a Glance

The story took but a few seconds. It was there, waiting to be told, in my rearview mirror.

The glance behind as I leave is a given. Perhaps I do it out of superstition. Perhaps I do it...just in case. I did it on Sunday for all the usual reasons and then some, probably borne out the sentimentality of the season.

In those moments, I noted the changes. A decade’s worth of them. Changes which I have not perceived when looking at her full on, but which could not be denied from the angle that allows for looking back over your shoulder. Slower on her feet as she shuffles back into the yard, her shoulders struggling for posture under a head full of worries that I know are all centred on my situation.

I felt the reversal of our roles keenly in the days of the Christmas just past. She helping me, rather than the other way around. We had enjoyed a fleeting period when I held the strength, the ability and the energy – when my youth relieved her from a lifetime of toil.

Now we have upset the natural order. She asks nothing of me. She implores me to rest, to stay in from the cold, to leave any lifting of my machine or of shopping bags to my brother. I woke each morning to the sound of her taking out ashes, carrying in fuel for the fires and preparing food - chores that should fall to me, while she sleeps and dreams to an hour befitting of a grandmother.

She doesn’t complain. She carries me, just as she has done since the day she brought me home from the hospital. The baby girl she always wanted.


  1. Beautiful and poignant as ever. I'll put the lump in my throat down to the bout of Swine Flu that decided to make a pig's ear of my past week!

    Stay positive ... have a look at this video (you may have to copy and paste the link):

    Nick's videos have become compulsive viewing for me. There are lots on YouTube.

  2. Regina, no matter what the future brings, do go on writing - you do it so well!

  3. F.K. - I didn't mean to let that post get so sad, but that's where it ended up! I'm at work now, so can't watch that video, but will take a look when I get home. Thanks.

    Francis - You're very kind. Writing maintains some semblance of sanity, so I will keep it up!

  4. Holemaster - I'm not sure how to take that!

  5. As in your making me all emotional like.

  6. Here's some good news for ya ... get out there and commit armed robbery. Kidney patients get one free pass now, it seems. Choose your target wisely though, there's no cash in the banks anymore!

    Kidney-swap sisters freed from US jail

    WASHINGTON - TWO African-American sisters who spent 16 years in jail for a robbery that netted US$11 (S$14) were released on Friday under a deal which could see the younger sister donate a kidney to her ailing sibling.

    At a news conference, Jamie Scott, the older of the two sisters who were serving double life sentences for acting as accomplices in a 1993 armed robbery, wiped tears from her eyes as she blurted out thanks for finally being free.

    'I never thought this day would come when I would be on the outside of the walls, when I been so down on the inside of the walls. Now I'm out where I can get me some decent medical treatment and everything like that and I'm so grateful, so grateful,' said Jamie Scott, who has kidney failure.

    The two sisters have became symbols of the biases in the US justice system, which hands much heavier sentences to blacks than whites.

    Haley Barbour, governor of the deep south state of Mississippi where the two sisters were jailed, suspended their sentences last month on condition that Gladys Scott give one of her kidneys to her older sister.

    Mr Barbour did not pardon the sisters, who are expected to be on parole for the rest of their lives.

  7. F.K. - What a story! Kidney failure really worked out well for them. By the way, you said you had swine flu? How awful. Hope you are over it now.

  8. Swine flu. Ya, nasty ould dose. To make matters worse, I think I caught it by shaking hands with some leper commoner at Mass. OK, I was no saint in 2010, but I thought you’re supposed to get a lump of coal if you’re bad. Turns out there are two different beardy dudes though, and the homeless-looking one that has the super powers has a sick sense of humour too.

    I’m sure it’s something you’re on top of, but if I could give you one piece of advice, get the flu jab. Because swine flu was like having a bit of a cold, then suddenly getting hit by a train, then bedbound with no sleep, zero energy for days on end, lying in pools of cold sweat and no damn water to wash. And then there’s the other health complications it caused. I shall never watch ‘Babe’ in the same light again.

    Anyway, as revenge, I intend to rob the poor boxes in the church where I contracted it, and if I get caught, I can lie and claim my free pass through ‘kidney asylum’!

  9. Yet another post that leaves me without words but wanting to say something.

  10. FK - Apologies for the delay in replying to you (see new post for explanation). Mass is a dangerous business. It's why I quit years ago. Swine flu sounds horrendous. I'm covered for it from the jab I got last year, so let's hope that vaccine that they only half tested at the WHO actually works ;)

    Shiny - Thank you so much for such a lovely comment! You're too kind x