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Mum had been gone a couple of months, six I think… (An ordinary day. Feeling hollow but doing OK) …when I realized I could get rid of the sofa.
I thought it was ugly. She thought it was a bargain. A sofa’s not a keepsake and it was certainly no heirloom. I’d not inflict it on my kids. I got rid.
If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. Even if it meant keeping the sofa.
Redecorated. Bought a new telly. Spent frivolous amounts of cash on scatter cushions. She disliked scatter cushions. I thought they were cosy.
My little boy drew on one of the cushions. On purpose. I was about to smack the back of his legs… (Mum would have. She smacked me when I was little) … but I stopped.
I never wanted to. I had known all along, somehow forgotten.
If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. But she would not smack my children.
Mum had been gone a year… (Planting bulbs. Feeling conspicuous carrying a shovel ‘round the churchyard) …and I missed her .
It was as hot as the day she died. There was no breeze up on that hill. No cloud. Beautiful views stretched right out to the sea.
My little boy had grown. He helped carry water and dig holes. My baby was learning to walk. She wobbled on uneven turf between the headstones. I wanted Mum to see.
If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. No question.
Mum had been gone three years… (Bulbs were doing OK. There was nothing left to plant that rabbits wouldn't nibble) …and I realized it was time to move on.
I kept the ghosts quiet while agents showed people round. The house sold. We moved away. A warm, terraced place in a small town by the sea. Dad died.
Mum has been gone eight years and I miss her.
Looking out from the Downs across cliff-top and sea, the churchyard seems nothing more than a soft-grey fleck on the green edge of town.
If I could bring her back now? Everything’s changed.
Ghosts exist. They sit in empty chairs and speak kettle-whistle. Wishing us well.
Oh Henry cried she
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