A sad litle tale, but worth it. (Edit Two)
Winter is the saddest time of year. It all seems like a grim fairy tale looking back on it. I find myself foraging through what remains, searching for something that resembles a happy ending. Trying to split infinity with rose tinted glasses, but there never seems to be enough time.
“Do you want any thing from the shops?” she’d asked.
I had said no and she had made her way to the front door, pulling on her marl grey fleece before braving the cold. I saw her off; I said and waved goodbye up the embankment, which was now white with all the snow that had settled. She had waited for the snow to stop, had been waiting for the last hour.
She said ‘Goodbye’ to me also. I remember the embarrassed smile as she said it, she was trying to cover the little slip she’d done at the top of the slope.
“I won’t be long” were the last words I heard from her before she got into the driver’s side of her Ford escort, which she’d spent the last ten minutes defrosting. The locks had always froze up in cold weather.
We both got to say our goodbyes, I guess that’s more than most mothers and sons get, but they were the wrong types off ‘goodbye’. It was the ‘I’m off for a loaf of bread, do you want anything from the shop’ goodbye. It just all seems so futile… pointless. I mean a loaf of bread, it made it seem somehow less noble, like the time I turned my ankle when we were living at the last house. Was I rushing out to knock a child out of the path of an out of control juggernaut?… No, I was going to school like any other day. So much pain in exchange for such a mundane routine, it’s hardly a fair transaction really.
So she hunkered down stiffly into the car and I shouted
“Drive carefully” but it was the wrong kind of drive carefully. It was the ‘this is a nice way to end the conversation’ sort of ‘drive carefully’. I wonder if that’s how she remembered it when she went through the windscreen.
I remember watching the tyres slice through the snowdrifts where the road met the curb, where the grit hadn’t taken.
I remember the treads of those tyres grinding against the grit underneath them, where it had fended off the snow.
I remember standing there until the car had disappeared round the corner of Alamein Drive and out off sight…
And I remember going back into the house and playing ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ on the Megadrive without a second thought.
Twenty minutes later I got the phone call, it was from my father, he’d been separated from my mother for about a year, he was on his way over. I found myself cursing as I went to answer the phone. I was on the end of game baddie, Dr Robotnic’s final creation was almost dead.
I never did complete that game.
All these memories, sights and sounds captured in one single moment and drawn across time, and the irony of it all is they didn’t even occur to me till afterwards.
And with such a fleeting moment, you would think that you would be able to make some sense out of it all, but you never have enough time.
I stared numbly out through the window into the distance, something colder and stranger than the freezing winter had entered me. I tried to see where my mother had climbed the banking and struggled into her car, but it had begun to snow again, already filling in her footsteps.
Thanks to bluey for his revision suggestions.