I was getting more and more annoyed with the lady standing by the till. Indecisive. Fiddling with her money. Forgetting to order the second brownie. Having to find her wallet once more and repeat the first procedure all over again. The whole queue was getting annoyed. The old lady and her daughter, by the looks of it in her early to mid sixties, didn’t seem to acknowledge the animosity that built up like a wall behind them. When they finally got their coffees we were all relieved. The world order was back in place, the universe got out of its temporary standstill.
But then it dawned on me. I will never be able to do this myself. I will never have the opportunity to spend an early afternoon with my elderly mum in a café. It struck me like a ship had rammed an iceberg, taken the whole crew and passengers with it down in the black depth of reality. The tectonic plates of truth shook beneath me. As I watched them, the daughter tenderly helping her mother over the steps by the door, finding them a seat, placing the tray with coffee and cake on the table while watching her mother sit down with an effort, I envied them. I envied the daughter that she have had so much time to spend with her mother. I envied that they seemed to get along so well. I envied that they could still share things, share moments. Still, after all this time, they could call each other and have a chat. Whenever they wanted. I envied them, but at the same time I felt a happy warmth spread inside.
Cherishing all the good memories isn’t always easy, but I try. Occasions like today give me a wake up call every time. It pushes me to make an effort remembering the good phone calls, the encouraging emails, the long talks over numerous lunches. That’s what I try to remember. Sometimes I have to force myself. But that’s all part of the game I guess. The game of missing someone.