I am lying on my back, on a diagonal, at my mother’s feet, on her bed, with my legs criss crossing the air energetically. I like the rhythm and the movement. It is a cold, wet, dull winter’s afternoon in Christchurch. The house is quiet. My brother and sisters are out. My mother is resting propped up against two large pillows. I can feel the texture of the yellow candlewick bedspread under my hands. I pull at its thick soft tufts. Draped across the end of her bed is my mother’s puffy eiderdown, beige with a paisley pattern of navy, red and green that swirls and twists. I can see out the window a row of large walnut trees, their leaves drooping and dripping, wet, along the boundary fence beyond the garden shed.
“Can I look at your photos mum?”
‘I’m trying to rest. They’re on top of the wardrobe, too high for you.”
“But I can get a chair and get them down.” I say.
I clutch the old linen embroidered pyjama case bulging with black and white photographs to my chest. How do I know it’s a pyjama case? The word “pyjamas” is embroidered in different shades of pink and purple across the front. I spread the collection of family photographs out on the bed. My mother takes a deep breath and sighs…the questions are about to begin.
When I was growing up my mother seemed always preoccupied and distant but the thing I remember about this day was how we were connecting. She looked at my hands and we compared our fingers. Then I took her hand and twirled her gold wedding ring round and round and she let me.