a brightness

17 September 2015 – Even when things aren’t happening they are.

Let’s see. This morning drove Liz to museum so I could use her car to take Melville (G’s dad) and Dot (his ladyfriend Dorothy) to clinic. While Dot’s getting bloodwork done Melville tells me they’ve decided to get married. He’s so giddy about it he forgets that he’s keeping it a secret. I ask why the secret. He says they want it to be a surprise. An opportunity to take us all out to a house they know about on the ocean. Under auspices of a nice weekend getaway. Then drop their bomb on the Sunday. While we’re all there. The all of us being Liz and Marlon, Dot’s daughter (Alice) and her husband (Duncan), and G and me. I ask if they’d planned a time for this surprise weekend. Next weekend. I ask if he doesn’t think it a good idea to let the all of us know. He looks at the ceiling in consideration. I ask if they’ve booked the house. He seems to have lost hold on the conversation. I reach out and hold his hand. He looks at me and smiles and hooks his cane on the armrest and brings his other hand over top of mine and pats. ‘She won’t be long now,’ he says.

A few minutes later Dot comes into the waiting area flexing her arm. Melville’s up at her side the instant he sees her. Fawning and attentive, even though he’s the one with the cane. Her trying to shoo him off. Him persisting. Her relenting. Their forearms entwined. His cane not touching the ground. Her head touching his upper arm. Their smiles. The love in their eyes.

A saccharine little scene. Poked by the holes of a hinting sadness. A dose of checked reality (No, I’m not going to go there right now.)

Dot’s one in a million. A tiny thing but full of energy. Spry as a squirrel, sweeter than honey, never lets a negative word cross her lips, and bakes about the meanest muffins ever. No way you’d guess she’s in her 70’s.

We met the first week I was back. Hit it off. She tabled an open invite to come visit. Any old time. Which I finally did last week. On a whim. Heard her joyous shriek when reception called to see if I was okay to let in. Melville was off in the common room with his cronies. Gave us a chance for some girl time. We had a grand afternoon. Drinking tea and baking cookies and laughing about our boys. Simple stuff. But so nourishing. Just what I needed. Without really knowing it.

Been back twice since.

See, thing is, since returning I’ve been having a hard time not hearing anything from mom. It’s plagued me to think our bond is severed. Dad keeps trying to reassure my patience. But, you know, she’s my mom. We were so close. Upon a time. Even when I wasn’t around she was my warm blanket when I needed one. The sound of her voice soothed me. She always knew just what to say and how to say it. I miss the person she was. Terribly.

Maybe this is why I feel such a bond with Dot. She’s very much like mom used to be. Older, sure, but gifted with a similar spirit. We joke that she’s my happenstance mom. A role she’s touched to play for as long as I wish.

Anyway. After the clinic the three of us go for a sandwich. Dot clarifies the weekend getaway. (Two weekends hence, not one). Melville’s in his clouds. Doesn’t clue into what we’re talking. Hardly touches his sandwich. He’s eyeing a newspaper left on another table. I ask if he’d like it. Dot interjects. Says he can get it himself. Which he does. Using backs of chairs instead of his cane. Arriving at the table he stands there flipping pages. Dot pats my hand and leans in closer. Says that as bad as it seems sometimes I’m not to worry. ‘He’s got me.’

I had more to say but don’t have the heart just now to undermine what a woman is Dot. A brightness on a cloudy day.


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