- Vol. 04
- Chapter 01
Image by Hernan Bas
MarigoldsWhen she died I wore her wedding ring until my finger was sore with the friction against my own, a reminder that sometimes we made each other sore by what we said and what we did. Even so, there was always love.
I was the one who sorted her clothes, bagged them and took them to the charity shop. Some things I couldn’t part with – two cardigans she’d knitted (scented with her perfume), her sparkly bag and shawl she used for choir concerts, my father’s old flat cap.
When we sold the house my brother took most of the contents as he’d just moved and I had no room. The rest was chopped up by a firm who told us it was worthless. Not to me it wasn’t. Each piece held childhood memories and every hammer blow was a wound in them.
Afterwards I wouldn’t walk up that street. I couldn’t bear seeing the house. But at Christmas when I visited a nearby friend I ended up passing my old home. The outside hadn’t changed much, though they had new double glazing. In the window was a Christmas tree, lights flashing a welcome. I felt I could just walk up that path, insert a key and I’d be home. Tears filled my eyes and I walked away with a heavy heart.
I went to visit my brother. After we’d eaten I offered to wash up. In the kitchen I looked around for some washing-up gloves, thinking he probably didn’t possess a pair. But on the side of the work surface were bright yellow Marigolds. They looked very used. I turned to my brother in question. ‘They’re from home,’ he said. And I slipped them on.
MarigoldsMy mother’s hands had been inside these. She had washed up in them day in day out. It was the nearest thing to touching her since I wore her wedding ring. I let the gloves mould around me as I dipped into the soapy suds. I couldn’t believe they had survived and come to live here, and that my brother still used them. But he was ever the practical one. They were sturdy, usable still, no holes. Why wouldn’t he take them and carry on using them?
I washed the dishes and it was like my mother was with me again curling her fingers around mine, soothing, telling me everything would be alright. When I finished I carefully took them off and laid them aside. I’d always believed her assurances. Why should I stop now?