Friday, February 16, 2007

Ocean View

Doesn’t get any easier to be here.

I’m back at my mother’s condo. I feel tremendously sad. I know I need to let it go. A neighbor who knows someone interested in buying the place has already approached me. I sent out an email to let my siblings know before taking the next step. The market is down and an eager buyer is a blessing.

My heart sank.

Doesn’t get any easier to let go, either.

Ben opened a drawer to look for a Chip Clip.

Grandma sure liked chips, he said, noting the large collection.

Cheese Doodles, Zachary chimed in. Grandma liked Cheese Doodles!

Oh yeah, Ben nodded in agreement.

I’m photographing the different things so my siblings and I can go through them, virtually. I opened her closet and it was like she was standing there. Cigarettes and White Diamond perfume.

There was a box of scarves on a shelf. I opened it and remembered when Ben was two years old and visiting Grandma. She brought out a silky, long scarf for him. He ran with it, draped it over himself, laughed and twirled. She was so delighted.

See? She said. They don’t need anything fancy to play with. Just what’s around the house.

Uh… I don’t have silk scarves around the house, Ma.

I pulled one out and held it to my face. I can’t let go of this, I thought. I can’t. I don't want to box anything up. I don't want to give anything away. I want to keep it here forever.

Jake called me from the other room.

MOM! Where are you?

I’m in here, I called. Grandma’s closet.

Whatcha doing? He asked.

How do I answer that? I’m crying. I’m longing to touch something that is gone. A friend commented to me the other day she had no idea I ever had a close relationship with my mother.

I did.

Even at our worst, I said, we could always talk about politics, religion and money managers.

At our best? She trusted me.

Once I came down here with just Zachary. It was his special treat- a trip with mom and grandma. He was about three years old. At one point, he started to have a fit. One thing about Zachary? When he gets into a mood it is so hard to get him out of it. Ever since he was a baby and still now. He was wailing away, having been put in time out in the house- my mother and I sat on the deck.

We both stared out at the ocean.

Zachary screamed.

Not much you can do about that one’s mood, now is there? She mused, taking a long drag off her cigarette.

Nope, I shrugged.

And I remember just sitting there with her, my kid going bizerk, watching the ocean. I was calm. I knew in a minute I’d go into Zachary and figure out how to break his mood- that time I threatened to put him in the trash barrel and playfully picked him up, tickled him as I walked toward it.

I knew my mother wasn’t upset or rattled. She sat, quietly amused.

I know I have to sell this place. I know it makes no sense to keep it. Somewhere in these walls? There is the very best of my life with her. I don’t want to let it go.


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