In passing

‘You’ve got enough money. Just get on a flight to Switzerland and end it if you’re so unhappy.’ This was how every Sunday afternoon played out, with mum trying to clamp down on Gran’s complaints about being old and frail and forced to carry on without Poppa. I poured coke and orange juice into my cup by halves. Gran frowned, and I knew instantly that it was because I’d poured my cup first. I handed her a plastic cup, filled the the brim. Brown lizard was her favourite. A guilty treat that we both delighted in; to my mothers reproach and eventual resignation. I’d nod through her annoyance, knowing that Grandma wouldn’t let me pour out the sink. When I smiled, victorious, mum would redouble her efforts, saying ‘that smile won’t last if you drink that garbage’. Mum was a real straight shooter. At home, the options were soy milk or water. Occasionally we’d have a small bottle of sparking apple juice to share, if we were stranded in town between busses on the weekend. That was years ago. Before Joey Romance came on the scene and poisoned our Sunday’s with aftershave and scouts. The same full decade, during which Mick Comain stole my gameboy at recess from my back pack and Laxel the wonder dog had to be put down. She only had three legs and constant distemper – but we loved her so much we never replaced her with another puppy. It’s always been a harsh muddle or memories and feeling reflecting on my youth. The shrinking horizon of dreams, possibilities and imagination came with the knowledge of things like: daylight savings, wearing underpants, electricity bills and making my own lunches. When I go to Laxel and mum’s grave, I’m not sure if it’s out of habit or choice. I wanted to be an astronaut, now I can barely spell it without the help of auto correct. Staying on the path has been easy, breaking away will be hard.

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