Sunday, 20 July 2014

Brushing on eyebrows

I was brushing on my eyebrows the other day when a couple of memories assailed me. I thought I'd share...

The first memory comes from when I was 12. It was the final year at  my small rural primary school. I was enjoying being a big fish before I would be dropped in the big pond of the tough local high school.

Mum had bought tickets to the outdoor summer Shakespeare at the University. She wondered if I'd look too grown-up in an outfit of a stone-wash jeans and a white shirt under a hot pink sweatshirt with my grandmother's diamante brooch at the neck.  She even allowed me a touch of matching pink lipstick.

That was one of those moments of transition - from girl to woman. It was also a typical moment of caring and generosity from my mum as she trusted me with the precious old brooch. We enjoyed a night out together doing something that many 12 year olds wouldn't get to do or wouldn't enjoy. I would later study Shakespeare at that University.

The second half of the memory trail leads me to much later, when mum was quite sick with cancer. It was her birthday and we'd organised a big do with all her friends coming, gold and white balloons and a cake with apricot roses on it. For weeks previously she had been unable to stand or walk for long so we weren't sure how she'd cope with the demands of the event.

She got dressed for the party, her white shirt and orange cotton cardigan  hanging loose on her. I did her makeup, colouring her in with the colours of health and youth. I brushed on eyebrows and we chose an orange-red lipstick to tone in with her cardigan.

She managed to stay up for the whole party, chatting busily to all her guests, cutting the cake, enjoying the toasts. I told her how proud I was of her and a few people wiped away a tear. The photo of her happily holding up a cup of tea in a toast was the final photo in the montage at her funeral a couple of months later.

I don't know what this goes to show, other than that fact that three years later I still miss her a lot and think of her often. Little things trigger memories, bitter-sweet.

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