Su Bllackwell Paper art“Do you know Palm Beach?” the old lady asked me “It’s where all the movie stars live.” she pauses and I follow her blue eyes as she stares out beyond the skyline and we both take in the moment of where we are; waiting on the concrete, outside the closed bank doors that frame the soulless, High Street of my suburban hell hole.
It’s different from here….” She trails off, as we turn to each other to block out the streetscape. Its looks, from the dismal expression on her face – she feels the same way.
‘I’m 85’ she tells me and smiles. It’s a proud warm smile. I want to congratulate her, but I don’t want to sound condescending. So instead I smile back.
“I’m moving up here with my son and his family. But it’s a big move.” She explains to me.
“It is.” I agree “But you only have to do it once” I say without thinking, naively figuring she needed the reassurance.
“I’ve been in that house for 50 years.”
“It’s a good time to de-clutter.”
“I have Cancer.”
I don’t offer an apology. There is no sincerity in that reply today, and I know she does not want one. She is not quite resolved to her fate yet. Her blue eyes, youthful, look odd against her creased, over powdered skin. I sink into them as they reflect her minds eye window of her ocean view. I can taste the sea air for her. I bite the salt on my bottom lip almost in despair to feel it for her. She does not belong here. But here she is – with no where else to go.
Lily and I leave the old lady in her thoughts as the bank doors open, and we go about the rest of our day. But, I cannot forget her. What will happen in years to come if Lily decides Australia is not home? I wonder as I load up the groceries into the car. Will this be our fate in years to come? Tomorrow even? I ponder and I hug Lily a little bit tighter, as I tuck her into her bed. Will someone look out for our daughter if we are not here to look out for her tomorrow? Who is that someone? free yourself hand
Meeting the old lady has opened up a Pandora Box, that I really had no desire to take a peek into – let alone fling the latch wide open. But now, as I have – I think I must look inside; as no-one knows what tomorrow holds. Live for today and the now; I hear and see the words every day – and yet I do not. Always deciding tomorrow is that day. So what to do? I have two choices: I can wait, plan, dream for tomorrow or I can get on with it now. I will tell my husband I love him now – rather than think it after he leaves. I will pull on my gum boots now and jump in muddy puddles now, rather than wait for the Sun. I will buy the gorgeous dress now rather than wait for the sale. I will experience life now and not just plan the dream for tomorrow. I will take the chance now, have the fun now and take that leap of faith now. I will stop waiting on the tomorrow, as the one thing I have learnt this week – is the one day that never comes.