Eight : Memories 2/2

Last year I wrote here that I was worried I was forgetting. This year I wanted to write a list of my most treasured memories.

When I managed to catch her before breakfast, still reading in bed and could sneak in next to her, and we’d talk for hours. When day we stayed there until dad came back for lunch – we felt so sheepish. I can’t remember of what we spoke, but the simple act of going so is enough.

Of watching her on stage – we only get snatches of seeing our loved ones in their natural or work environment – it always took my breath away.

That when she was in hospital over night, she’d wait at her window the next morning and wave to me as I went to work.

When she’d ask me to do her makeup before she’d go out to a party

Sitting under a tree, it was spring in the south of France, she was rehearsing for a job – recording a book on to tape. The Book was My Theodosia, I fell in love with that era of American History and Aaron Burr – it shaped a lot of my learning.

Tidying my room while listening to the many, many other books she’d read on to tape.

Singing the musical numbers of Guys and Dolls and an American in Paris while cooking in the kitchen together – the smell of tomato sauce and the steam.

When she was doing her Masters, I’d sometimes travel to London from Uni and we’d hang out.

After a very serious car crash, dabbing arnica on to her bruises (in the loo, at the theatre school where she taught and I was training) – catching her eye in the mirror and knowing we were both sending out all the gratitude that it wasn’t more serious.

Her letters. She wasn’t afraid to express how much she loved us, or anything else for that matter. 

How soft her skin always seemed and how good it smelt, especially when it was warmed by the sun

How, even when she was really sick, she came to my work (during a particularly horrendous tech week) to bring A and I soup. I still have the fancy card she’d written the cooking instructions on

Discussing theatre with her and often disagreeing.

There was a time when we went to a bridal shop (a pretty rubbish one – it was on a whim), she kept stopping everyone and saying – “you don’t understand she’s normally in jeans” whilst requesting I try on bigger and bigger dresses

A star necklace she bought me from accessorise ‘just because’

Being with her when her Mama died and knowing it was the awful privilege of women to be the strong ones, to bare witness to these life and death events. Being with her when she died.

Picking up the phone and telling her of a particularly difficult breakup and having her just say – ‘Come Home Now’ and that was all.

Her chicken broth.

How she stayed with me, that one time a got blind drunk and very sick, because she was worried I might choke – how she didn’t get cross about it at all.

How, during my early teenage years, when I was awkward and friendless – she and dad would hang out with me and never thought that was weird (or let me know if she did anyway)

How the only time I ever stayed out over night, whilst I was at theatre school and living at home, she didn’t ask me where I had been, she just handed me an almond croissant the next morning

How she didn’t understand predictive text, so I’d receive messages like “thigh is al I cab’ 

How reading her childhood diaries would have us all howling with laughter.

How she would try to make me a tidier person.