It takes me back

It takes me back

My daughter is 7
I’m taking her to visit my sick mum,
her grandma,
she sleeps in a room with me,
her brother, 9, stays at home
with his Dad.

I’m am 4
and visiting my Nana
with my mum,
we stay in Nana’s little flat in Melbourne,
I sleep in a room with my Mum,
my brothers and sister stay at home
with our Dad.

Nana’s had a couple of strokes,
she doesn’t smile much,
she is nearly blind,
a bit scary, I think,
her thick Irish lilt
settles me, a little.

Mum and Nana talk and talk …
I don’t know what about,
I spend my time investigating,
a budgie in a cage outside the kitchen window,
a cat on the wall,
cement driveway, brick flat,
fancy thick glass sliding door to the living room,
don’t go in there, Nana says,
children must do as they are told.

Fragments of sticky thoughts, lasting decades,
Nana isn’t happy,
Nana doesn’t like me,
never connecting the dots,
(nothing to do with strokes
and blind eyes)
assume things, remember things,
far from true.

17 thoughts on “It takes me back

  1. very moving, the way it unfolds, the idea of history repeating in certain ways, and the awareness of it that makes it so special, and it brought me back too, to similar visits long in the past

    • thanks tipota – I wrote some notes last year when I was visiting Mum and something is simmering in my brain – this is just a first pass – there is something bigger in there which isn’t coming out just yet (the shadowing of those who are older than us, and then we are right where they were – very strange but wonderful feeling) – I’ll get there one day.

  2. I like that 7-year-old’s story is told in a factual way by the narrator who assumes nothing about what memories the experience will hold for the girl and then how this draws the reader in to a parallel experience based on the memory of another, now grown-up, child with the benefit of hindsight.

    And “Fragments of sticky thoughts” is brilliantly descriptive, Gabrielle.

  3. Reminds me of seeing my grandparents, aunts etc in similar situations as a child and misinterpreting the fact that they were obviously very ill as a dislike/intolerance for me. How those things shape our perceptions. We only really understand what they were going through at the time when we reach adulthood. Your insights – as always – are spot on.

  4. Fantastic Gabrielle … I look forward to seeing your words evolve with this piece.
    You remind me that children often see only one part of a complete picture.

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