Have a Nice Life
After I buried my mother, I embarked on a journey with no destination in mind other than to escape. I longed to flee the heartache of loss, the turmoil of my mothers’ life, the guilt of my inadequacies and my mothers.
Driving my camper-van in a remote location, I came upon a red phone box standing sentry above marbled watered lakes below. The absurdity of a phone box miles from anywhere compelled me to stop. I exited the van.
As I sat against the phone box, the quietude of the place embraced my weary body, my battered heart. Wrapped in a cocoon of tranquillity, I closed my eyes. My weariness drifted skywards to the marsh-mellow clouds. I sensed my mothers smiling face. She and I sat in silence; how long for, I cannot say.
My mother died too soon; she died too young. For days, she lay in that hospital bed with a myriad of tubes attached to her bruised veins, fighting for her life. A monitor steadily bleeped as if counting down the remaining seconds of her life. I prayed for her to wake, to recover – I longed for her suffering to end, pleaded she be released from her pain.
She met George, the worst and the last in a long line swindlers and no hopers, at the caravan park.
‘He makes me laugh,’ she’d told me.
‘They all do, in the beginning,’ I’d muttered under my breath.
Reduced to living in a caravan, my mother scratched a living from cleaning the parks’ ablution blocks and selling her knick-knacks made from shells and drift-wood at the market.
Before the caravan became her home, she flitted the dingy flat above the Chinese Takeaways in the middle of the night. Robbed of her car and meagre savings by the previous low-life, unable to pay rent or the bus fare to her job as a receptionist at the doctors’ surgery, she moved into the caravan and quit her job.
But it was the suave, smooth-talking Henry who sent my mother on her downward spiral of poor choices in the search for an ideal man. As a successful executive in a large company, my mother had secured a modest home for her and me. After Henry persuaded my mother to sign the house-deeds into his name to raise capital for his marvellous business venture, he hooked-up with his estranged wife, making my mother and me homeless.
I open my eyes to darkening clouds and hear the phone inside the box ringing. I enter, pick up the receiver and listen.
‘Don’t waste your life or squander your talents like I did. Please say good-bye to George for me.’ My mother chuckled. I left the phone dangling.
Climbing into the camper-van, I leant over the rolled-up carpet and opened the back doors. With a mighty kick, the rolled-up carpet bounced onto the ground.
I sprung out after it, knelt to my knees and shoved the carpet down the embankment. I heard the splash.
‘Bye, George, have a nice life.’