If you watched her, you got the sense she was always waiting for something else to happen; always apprehensive of what was coming later. She would clean as a pass-time, not quite in an aggressive manner, but compulsive all the same. It was like she was programmed to find the nearest crumb or wash the sink full of dirty crockery; wiping and spraying and rubbing and sweeping were her reflexes. She would excuse her way out of doing most things so she could potter around and prepare something – she spent all of her time waiting for what’s next, without really basking in the now. However, once dinner was made and eaten, she would sit at the table and gamble on about the past, about the stories and people and norms of before. It was the only time she did not seem pre-occupied with the future; when she was pre-occupied with avoiding it.
Her hair was dyed and trimmed into short submission; eyelashes sparse and teeth stained. Her main frame still allowed her the societal gift of being ‘relatively thin for her age’, however it was now embellished with aged flashes of cellulite and the reluctant droop of worn skin. Her hands were nimble from a history of jobs demanding dexterity and soft from the warmth she would dish out to people flippantly. A filthy laugh and a violent sneeze. She never cooked by recipe; only instinct and memory, like they all do.
I loved her dearly, and the best thing about her was that she provided love in such huge amounts it sometimes became inconvenient for someone who wasn’t expecting it. A huge awkward gift too big and heavy for arms unfamiliar with the load.