The Road.

It’s still a few days to go before mom goes to see a specialist. In the meantime she’s been to her normal doctor and he’s given her a script for (more) pain killers. The meds must be pretty strong considering how she’s looking; very frail. She has a ring-neck parrot, inherited from T!, one of the many casualties from her lack of commitment, lack of interest. That bird molts every once in a while, when it does it looks very sorry for itself. That’s kind of what mom looks like at the moment; like a molting bird. I’ve sunk a little further into some space about how she’s doing, about how life will start to feel when she isn’t around anymore. It’s hard to imagine it. I guess she’s always been there so it would be difficult to imagine.

There is a thing going on about what her coming here was meant to be all about. All sorts of warm and fuzzy. How it was meant to give everyone a chance to catch up, a chance to do all the good stuff that we never got around to doing, for all that to happen now. What her coming here was meant to be all about turned into what it could have been about, but never became. There’s been these moments, remembering this or that experience involving her at previous moments in time. A time when she was younger, times when maybe I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have the lengths she went to, to make sure that life was fine, to make sure it was fine for me, to make sure I was happy. Moments that she got my back. She always had my back.

Of course remembering that just leads to some kind of sense of dread, some kind of sense of regret. And it’s easily encouraged. Regret flowers into all sorts of despair. A deepening realization of how lonely it is here. How alone everyone is. Watching people fall by the wayside, losing track, getting out of touch. As much as the road felt crowded at times and like you wish you just had a little more space, a little more breathing room, when in truth that’s all you ever really had. The people you thought were close weren’t ever really there at all. The ones that you didn’t want around, the ones you took for granted, well, they were the only ones that could be, would be, right there by your side all the time.

All the way to the end.

Then at some point after they all slowly start to die off, it’s just you and the wind now, the top of a tree that spent its life reaching for sunlight. Until at last you get there, own a little piece of the sky. You get what you wanted but now nobody is there with you to share that with. Alone, straining to hear the whispers. They are unreachable and out of touch. He’s lost up there. His head is in the clouds. Where he couldn’t appreciate what he had before now he’s blind to anything else that could be. It’s too late. Let him enjoy the last rays of sunlight as the day gives way to night. Where are all those big trees now? They all felt so big, they all felt so permanent. How is it possible for them to have died, how is it possible for them to have disappeared?

By Sunday mom is sick of sitting around waiting to die. She wants to go out for a while, wants to go out for a drive. She suggests a short trip along the coastline. Of course with the impending inevitable about to happen it’s an opportunity to do one of the many Road Trips that were meant to happen while she was still well (while she was still alive), so that’s the direction we push in instead. It started off sort of well, a complete rainbow visible on the horizon, it raced us for a while easily keeping up with our pace on one flank. This was in stark contrast to thirty minutes later. I’d chosen and inland route to a farm stall about an hour away. To get there we skirted the border of a large township.

The roads were quiet and littered with rubbish on both sides. At some point we reached a stop street. Two cars with men inside approached the intersection. We could see they were drinking alcohol. There was no stop sign for them but they stopped anyway and motioned for me to proceed. I ignored them and waited for them to turn. Eventually they turned into the road we would be travelling on. I proceed and they slow down in front of us now so I indicate and overtake them. Now they raced to be close to our rear. All the while B and T@ were fretting about this. It wasn’t a good sign. But the situation didn’t deteriorate into anything much worse than that. The car behind us eased up after a bit and eventually faded from view.

The incident brought to mind all sorts of unpleasant. Reading about some of the stuff that happens to people in the middle of nowhere in this country can be the stuff of nightmares. The tone of this trip had become decidedly ugly. What was meant to be something good and nice had taken a turn for the worse. Now it was easier to see the neglect and abandon that surrounded us, to see death and destruction. We got to the farm stall not very long after. For a minute and a half things returned to normal. At that point the best thing would have been to get on the highway and to make our way back home. To make our way back to safety. But I stubbornly clung to the idea of trying to make the best of it and suggested a longer route using back roads instead with an option to stop somewhere for lunch.

When we stopped for lunch that experience turned into a big pile of steaming poo too. This time it involved T@ downloading about her problems at home. As predicted it turns out T! getting a horse for T@ was not such a good idea. The horse is costing her a fortune, having to pay for something she never said she could afford or that she said she wanted. Things have come to a head now and she feels it’s time to confront T! about it. Or at least mom feels that way. Mom seems to be stressing out about the situation. She steps outside the restaurant for a cigarette and I suggest while she’s away that we stop with the bogging her down with all this stuff, with all the detail. It’s something B and I have spoken about before and the reality of it starts to hit home; when T@ is around it seems all conversation becomes about her, whether it’s about boyfriend trouble, drama at work or drama at home. It’s going to be tricky trying to spend quality time with mom while she is around.

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