To my dear real Mavis, I guess I’ve heard some things, some quite terminal things. Some things that leave an impending sink (merciless, not kitchen) of doom in my gut, not at all dissimilar to losing a box of memories, chopping off a thumb, standing too close to an edge.
It could all be a fell swoop, opening the oven makes my eyes water. Things aren’t quite so picturesque, as pristine as we had hoped. I’ve heard that you’re stuck like a pea lodged in-between unneeded mattresses, can’t even be seen behind the bed sheets, except for a hand that asks to be held.
You are nightclothes. Once comfortable linen, too swathed and heavily perfumed. A cold sweat won’t leave your side. What happens when you can’t get up and be the perfect host? Too weak to pick up the marigolds.
Circulation running but not smoothly on course, soft Nana hands. Things weren’t supposed to turn out so oddly, being real went backwards and sloped dodgily, it wobbles when you breathe on it, the bed wasn’t supposed to be in the dining room, and you weren’t supposed to be in it.
It was supposed to be just dandy, pastel coloured and end in slow dancing in the living room, children happy and well and a glow of warmth coming through the window. The thought gets stuck in my throat like stale slippers, what a beautiful life it has been, slowed down now to an imperfect humming T. He asked in a gentlemanly manner for the perfect love story, haven’t you been happy here? Forgetting the contents of the wedding photos, blurred and frozen faces. A half-eaten Weetabix in the cupboard falls from the shelf, the whole thing moved into boxes, into drawers, put safely out without a word, the same story told three times.
The grandfather clock trailed off chiming, chipped porcelain. Kept all the knickknacks, the yellow and pink candle pots, the sad, crude family heirlooms.
Knitting a perfect home into a sweetly perfumed shoe box. You’d kept it all perfect, lost a child and kept all of the plates spinning, hair permed and correctly pinned.
In the silence the only sound is ticking, slow methodical and drawn-out. Dust on the empty, dented bed. You became all too real, too beautiful, too terminal. In my own night-dress things are waiting. There’s no further treatment and they sent you home to sleep, into a dining room bed, broken china and unexpected conclusions.
My real Mavis, I made you another place within a safe homage, I hope it is all marigold and bright.
The Real Mavis