jmgoyder

wings and things

Springtime: Imagined conversation 70

Me: Thank God August is over.

Anthony: Okay, will do.

Me: Do what?

Anthony: I thought you asked me to thank God?

Me: Oh, I see….

Anthony: I felt it too, the August blues.

Me: Did you?

Anthony: Well, you know how I dislike winter.

Me: I didn’t think you got winter over there.

Anthony: No, but I felt for you.

Me: It wasn’t so much the winter; it was because it was the month you died. I thought I would get all sad on the 23rd but instead I was sad for the whole month. It was horrible.

Anthony: And now?

Me: Ever since the 1st of September – the first day of spring – it is as if a heavy fog has lifted.

Anthony: Good on you, Jules.

Me: I got a lot of comfort out of our conversations during August though.

Anthony: My pleasure.

Me: I don’t feel the need to talk with you as much now.

Anthony: You’ve said that before. Don’t worry – I will survive.

Me: Ha – ironic.

Anthony: You have a lot of living to do, Jules – at least another 20 years.

Me: If you had said that in August I would have felt daunted. Ming said my eyes went all dark.

Anthony: And now?

Me: Now I feel a sense of excitement.

Anthony: Shine on, baby!

Me: You too.

Anthony: I am so shiny now you would need your sunglasses.

Me: For some reason that conjured an image of nudity.

Anthony: You are so perceptive, Jules! I am at the naturist beach.

Me: Oh hell.

Anthony: No, this is heaven.

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Imagined conversation 60

Anthony: I thought we weren’t going to have these talks any more.

Me: You sound hurt.

Anthony: Not hurt exactly, more nonplussed.

Me: It is all the details of death that prevent any finality and, yeah, that dreadful word, closure.

Anthony: Like what?

Me: Like the stupid Probate thing – registering – via our lawyer, your Will to the Supreme Court – to prove that I am your beneficiary, executor, wife etc.

Anthony: So how are your inherited paddocks?

Me: Oh, swimmingly, Ants – the rain has been relentless! Anyway, I need some photo ID of you for this probate process and all I can find is a very scary portrait of you on an out-dated passport.

Anthony: Why is it scary?

Me: You look like a thug!

Anthony: So what happens next?

Me: Apparently, once we get past this probate thing, I will become officially entitled to everything – the house, land, your shares, your holiday house in Bermuda – everything!

Anthony: I thought you thought sarcasm was the lowest form of wit, Jules.

Me: And I thought death was simple, Ants. How could I have possibly anticipated the amount of red tape that would surround your death, or the length of time if would take for this probate thing?

Anthony: I am so sorry, Jules!

Me: Why? Not your fault but I tell you what, Ants, I am getting things clearly written and legal-easy for Ming in case I die sooner rather than later. You never know.

Anthony: You never know what is around the corner.

Me: You used to say that to me all the time in a funny way!

Anthony: Jules?

Me: Yes, oh wise one?

Anthony: Tell Ming that it is all going to be splendid.

Me: Okay. I will. And if it is all right with you, I would like to continue these conversations every now and then, for awhile.

Anthony: Good idea and I am relieved..

Me: Me too, Ants. I love you so much!

Anthony: And the whole of Heaven heaves for you too, Jules.

Me: Bleah!

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Photo taken before Ants got really sick – maybe 2007?

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Imagined conversation 46

Anthony: Now what?

Me: Haha – I knew you’d say that. Don’t tell me, let me guess – you are playing chess with Elvis.

Anthony: Just a minute, it’s my move … okay, what’s up?

Me: What did you mean, yesterday, when you said there was no hurry?

Anthony: Generally speaking, Jules, you tend to be in a hurry to get nowhere.

Me: What do you mean?

Anthony: I know about google now, Jules.

Me: So?

Anthony: I noticed that you looked for “ways to fast-track grief”.

Me: Oh, how embarrassing. Sorry, Ants – it was nothing against you. I was just trying to figure out how to feel better faster. I am so sick of the sadness. I am so sick of my sad self!

Anthony: You know how you used to put that funeral photo of me in your back pocket?

Me: Yes? I haven’t done that for ages.

Anthony: That’s what you do with the grief, Jules – you put it in your back pocket, all cosy and warm against your bum – then you live.

Me: I keep seeing you everywhere – not like a ghost or anything, just people who remind me of you.

Anthony: Elvis gets that too.

Me: Yeah, I know – someone just saw him in Passadena, apparently. Are you really playing chess with him or are you just kidding? I never know with you.

Anthony: Struth!

Me: I want you back, Ants.

Anthony: I want you back too, Jules.

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Imagined conversation 41

Me: Nostalgia can be quite a pleasant sensation, can’t it, Ants.

Anthony: Yes and no.

Me: What do you mean, “yes and no”?

Anthony: Well every time I see anyone who looks a bit like you, I get a pang of it.

Me: With me it’s not people as much as things.

Anthony: Like what?

Me: That pottery we used to search Perth for.

Anthony: Arabia ware.

Me: Yes, except it’s from Finland.

Anthony: How do you know that?

Me: I just googled it.

Anthony: We don’t have any left do we?

Me: One saucer. I was going to try and get a cup to go with it but have suddenly realised I don’t particularly like it.

Anthony: Sacrilege!

Me: Anyway, how come a workaholic dairy farmer like yourself had a thing for Scandinavian tableware.

Anthony: I’ve taken that secret to my grave.

Me: C’mon, tell me, Ants. It’s one of the many things I wish I’d asked you before you died.

Anthony: Actually, I’ve forgotten.

Me: Oh well.

Anthony: And all these years I thought you liked it as much as I did.

Me: So did I! The only reason I want to find it now is because it reminds me of you, not because you are the god of good taste.

Anthony: But I am! I suppose you’re going to tell me you don’t like willow pattern now … hey, wait a minute, where are you going? Don’t avoid the question. Jules? Come back here!

Me: Haha!

 

 

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Imagined conversation 26

Anthony: What’s with all the new clothes?

Me: Retail therapy.

Anthony: What’s that supposed to be?

Me: Forget it. You wouldn’t understand.

Anthony: I like it. You’re looking particularly well groomed these days.

Me: Why thank you, kind sir.

Anthony: Stylish even. You’d be a knockout if you wore higher heels.

Me: Oh for God’s sake, you can forget that.

Anthony: The red boots are, well, they’re very red aren’t they.

Me: So? I bought them before you died but I never got to show you so every time I wear them I feel a bit of a pang of disappointment.

Anthony: They look good, Jules, I’m only teasing.

Me: I kind of bought them for you actually, indirectly.

Anthony: A likely story.

Me: No, really. I used to like the way you liked the way I love my boots.

Anthony: You definitely have a fetish for them.

Me: Not so much now.

Anthony: Isn’t it about time you bought some new ones?

Me: What? I can’t believe you’re encouraging me to spend money.

Anthony: You can use my money. I don’t need it any more.

Me: Wow, you’ve changed. What happened to the tightwad I married?

Anthony: He turned into a butterfly.

Me (laughing): You crack me up, Ants. Okay, well I don’t need much encouragement so what colour do you suggest?

Anthony: Purple and white polka-dots?

Me: You are insane!

Anthony: Why not?

Me: I’ll google it. Ah here we go. What do you think?

toga-pulla-micheal-crystal-boots

Anthony: Not bad. What do they cost?

Me: Let me see … $5,200.

Anthony: [Pause]

Me: Are you there?

Anthony: I’m in shock.

Me: Yes, so am I so don’t panic. I’m not that self-indulgent and I can’t imagine who is. Okay, how about these?

LUNAR-POLKA-DOT-WELLY-PURPLE-01

Anthony: How much?

Me: Around $40. But they’re gumboots.

Anthony: They really are ‘you’ though, aren’t they.

Me: You think?

Anthony: Different.

Me: Are you sure?

Anthony: Why not?

Me: Thanks but I’m really very tempted by the first pair – the more I look at them….

Anthony: Jules, come on.

Me: You are so gullible.

Anthony: I’ve broken into a sweat.

Me: I bet!  I wish I could buy you something – anything, even a slice of black forest cake or a dozen oysters.

Anthony: Plenty of that here.

Me: Really? Oh, of course. I know, but I used to love buying you presents and treats and stuff.

Anthony: You’re too generous.

Me: It was fun.

Anthony: Tell you what, buy the gumboots for me. Indirectly.

Me: Sold!

Anthony: You’re a burster, Jules.

Me: I can’t believe purple and white polka-dot boots even exist. How could you have possibly known?

Anthony: I’ve become a fan of google too.

Me: Now I really am shocked! But you don’t even know how to turn a computer on.

Anthony: I do now. I’m one step ahead of you. Now buy the boots. Right now.

Me: Your wish is my command. Thanks, Ants – this is so enjoyable!

Anthony: It is, isn’t it.

 

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Imagined conversation 24

Me: Tomorrow it’ll be exactly eight months since you died.

Anthony: I notice you haven’t been talking to me as much lately.

Me: I know. Sorry, I’ve been busy – really busy.

Anthony: That’s good, Jules and no need to apologise.

Me: I’m not over you or anything like that but the grief seems to have eased up a bit.

Anthony: Don’t forget me though.

Me: That would be absolutely impossible. I live in your house.

Anthony: Our house.

Me: Okay, our house but actually, technically, it’s still just your house because we never got around to the whole joint ownership thing. Your estate is still being sorted and then it’ll actually be my house – so weird.

Anthony: Yes.

Me: Everything here reminds me of you.

Anthony: That’s as it should be.

Me: Ha! That ghastly pink enamel teapot that doesn’t match the red Aga … little things like that remind me of you.

Anthony: You’re not going to sell up are you?

Me: No, of course not. It would break your heart wouldn’t it?

Anthony: I have a slightly different perspective on that now.

Me: I guess I do too. This place stopped meaning as much to me when you went into the nursing home.

Anthony: And now?

Me: Well, nothing really means as much to me now. I put on those boots you gave me today – you know the long ones with black rubber feet and brown leather up to the knees? I wanted to come straight into the nursing home to show them off to you with my new jeans and jacket and then I felt a bit sick when I remembered. That hasn’t happened for awhile.

Anthony: So what did you do?

Me: I got dressed up anyway.

Anthony: That’s my Julie.

Me: I don’t think I should sell up. Ming loves it here.

Anthony: You don’t have to decide yet do you?

Me: No.

Anthony: You sound low.

Me: Not really – just getting used to this gentle grief. I kind of miss the searing grief; it’s more solid.

Anthony: Can’t help you there, Jules.

Me: Do you miss me?

Anthony: Yes, it’s kind of boring here without you.

Me: Same here.

Anthony: I think you are absolutely marvellous, Jules.

Me: Where did that come from?

Anthony: Straight from the heart.

Me: It’s so strange to love someone so much when the person is dead.

Anthony: Who’s that then?

Me: You, you idiot!

Anthony: But I’m still here.

Me: I know that but I just wish I knew where here was.

Anthony: Here is here.

Me: Okay – so you are here, and here is here. Thanks, Ants.

Anthony: You’re welcome. Oh, and Jules?

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Me: Yes, Ants?

Anthony: You won’t get rid of that teapot will you?

Me: No way!

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Imagined conversation 23

Me: I woke up this morning from the most terrible nightmare about you, Ants.

Anthony: Not very flattering, Jules, but good morning to you too.

Me: No, I don’t mean you were a monster or anything; on the other hand….

Anthony: Go on, I’m interested.

Me: Well, there are a few scenarios where I am asking you if you are seeing an ex-girlfriend – not a real one, that you really went out with – a new one who I’ve never heard of before. Anyway you say no the first time I ask you. Then, the second time I ask, you say yes, but just for dinner and you assure me that nothing untoward is going on. But, the third time, you admit that you’ve fallen in love with her.

Anthony: Ah the plot thickens….

Me: It’s not funny, Ants; I’m still trying to shake the nightmare off!

Anthony: Okay, sorry. So what happens next?

Me: During the rest of the nightmare, we are at a party. All of our friends and family are there and so is SHE. You are avoiding me and I’m upset but trying not to show it. I’m worried that you are overdoing it and amazed at how well you look considering how ill you are.

Anthony: So it’s another one of those dreams where I suddenly jump out of my wheelchair and start dancing?

Me: No. I like that dream; in this one there is no wheelchair in the first place. I keep wanting to ask you if the nursing home staff know you’re out and about and do you have your pills but it’s impossible to even get close to you.

Anthony: Am I the life of the party?

Me: Stop fishing! Yes.

Anthony: Good….

Me: Then a rumour starts circulating that you are going to announce your engagement to this other woman. Apart from the shock of hearing this, I am bewildered because you and I are already engaged. Anyway, as you are too gutless to tell me yourself, you send a friend over to tell me that you were never in love with me and that you are sorry.  I am devastated but try to act cool because people are starting to look at me sympathetically already.

Anthony: Well it’s not true, Jules.

Me: So I say to this friend that I’ve been with you for over twenty years but still waiting for you to choose a wedding date. Feeling desperate, I do a bit of a whispered rant to the friend about all of the years I’ve cared for you with your kidney cancer, prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and the friend quietly commiserates,

Anthony: Who’s the friend?

Me: B.

Anthony: Oh, B. Great bloke.

Me: So then the most horrible scenario unfolds. You and this other woman announce your engagement to a shocked but delighted crowd.

Anthony: What do you do?

Me: I leave with as much dignity as I can muster. I find my car and drive away, sobbing.

Anthony: Maybe that other woman is your alter-ego?

Me: No, she has long, thick curly hair and a horsey face, and she’s ten years older than me!

Anthony: Oh.

Me: Is that all you can say – ‘Oh’?

Anthony: I’m sorry, Jules.

Me: What for? The nightmare, or what happened in the nightmare?

Anthony: Both.

Me: Well I guess it’s no more real than these conversations.

Anthony: Ouch.

Me: I felt so absolutely abandoned and alone and angry but I didn’t want everyone at the party to know how I felt.

Anthony: Maybe that’s what the nightmare was all about.

Me: When did you get your degree in rocket science?

Anthony: Superlative sarcasm, Jules – bravo!

Me: Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about it. It’s so good talking to you.

Anthony: Remember how we used to debate the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone?

Me: And how you used to say you loved me but you weren’t in love with me? Yes, difficult to forget that.

Anthony: But remember the day it all changed?

Me: Oh yes! I’d forgotten about that!

Anthony: Let’s save that for our next conversation, Jules. I’m exhausted!

Me: But I’m the one who had the nightmare! I hope I don’t have it again. Are there any nightmare tweakers where you are?

Anthony: I’ll see what I can do. And Jules?

Me: Yes?

Anthony: I’ve only ever been in love with one person.

Me: Who?

Anthony: Now you’re fishing.

Me: Well, who?

Anthony: YOU.

 

 

 

 

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Imagined conversation 20

Anthony: Who are all of these men you keep thinking about?

Me: Will you please STOP reading my mind like that; it’s so disconcerting!

Anthony: Well, who are they?

Me: If you can read my mind, surely you know who they are.

Anthony: But I want to hear it from you, Jules.

Me: Okay, they are just a bunch of CEOs, film executives, producers and….

Anthony: I don’t like it.

Me: What? I thought you’d be proud of me!

Anthony: [potent silence]

Me: Oh. My. God. Are you actually jealous? I can’t believe it. Yes, you are jealous, aren’t you!

Anthony: Well I am a bit, actually. I don’t want you to want them to like you; it doesn’t feel right.

Me: Ants, there is absolutely nothing romantic going on, I can assure you. It’s you I want them to like, not me!

Anthony: That’s good then.

Me: So are we clear now?

Anthony: Sorry, Jules. I just don’t want to lose you.

Me: You couldn’t lose me even if you wanted to, Ants.

Anthony: So what do all of those guys think of me?

Me: They think you are wonderful, Ants – absolutely wonderful! Star material!

Anthony: You are so full of BS Jules.

Me: I’m meeting one of them tonight for cocktails because….

Anthony: For God’s sake, Jules – don’t do anything stupid.

Me: Gotcha!

 

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Imagined conversation 14

Me: You won’t believe it, Ants!

Anthony: Try me.

Me: I went kayaking today!

Anthony: You what?

Me: I went kayaking! I had a lesson with this lovely guy and I only fell out once, when I was first getting into the thing.

Anthony: What lovely guy?

Me: The kayaking instructor.

Anthony [pause]: Okay….

Me: I think I might even buy a kayak, Ants! What do you think?

Anthony: You’re a bit impulsive, Jules.

Me: No, I’m not, Ants. I kayaked for three hours and I loved it!

Anthony: You’re a burster, Jules.

Me: Well, that’s a good thing isn’t it?

Anthony: Be careful.

Me: Why? I’m not scared of anything anymore. You’ve already died.

[Note to readers: It is now over six months since my husband, Anthony, died from pneumonia, after years of being in a nursing home with advanced Parkinson’s disease dementia. Since then, I have battled a couple of severe bouts of major depression (a condition I already had), with the addition of grief rendering me almost as bedridden as Anthony was in the end. But, with the help of my psychologist, and my own determination, I’ve begun to embrace new adventures, and kayaking is one of these. The imagined conversations are just that – imagined. I miss talking to Ants, so I do it here.]

 

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Imagined conversation 13

Me: I did something a bit spontaneous today, Ants.

Anthony: That’s unusual, Jules.

Me: I bought myself a silver bangle – from you to me. It’s kind of a combination of a Christmas and birthday present. It’s nothing to do with Valentine’s day, I promise.

Anthony: Thanks for letting me know.

Me: Oh thank you so, so, so, much for it, Ants. I love it!

Anthony: My pleasure, Jules, you deserve it.

Me: Well, yes, I think I do too because you know the last few years when you always asked me to go and get myself a silver bangle for my birthday….

Anthony: I’m glad I could be of service.

Me: No, you don’t get it Ants, I only pretended to buy myself those bangles because I didn’t want to spend the money.

Anthony: What a good disciple you are.

Me: Yeah, so I would wear an old bangle that you’d bought me years ago, and you bought me heaps, remember? You even chose them.

Anthony: I have impeccable taste. You tend to like chunky, showy jewellery.

Me: That’s a horrible thing to say and not true at all!

Anthony: I prefer the subtle nuances of the bracelet myself.

Me: Anyway so I was having a coffee in town at a new place (I’m trying to get out and about more because that’s what people keep telling me to do) and I just happened to look up and there was the shop – Baroque Design Jewellery Studio – and, whammo, I felt this sudden, nostalgic urge that you wanted me to go there.

Anthony: I had nothing to do with it, Jules. You have an overactive imagination.

Me: Are you sure? I mean the urge was so strong and I walked in and reminded Tim that I was the girl (yeah I know I should have said ‘woman’ not ‘girl’, how embarrassing) who used to come once a year to buy a silver bangle, or bracelet, as a gift to myself from my adoring husband who wasn’t well enough to accompany me.

Anthony: A likely story.

Me: Are you even listening to me!

Anthony: Sorry – wondering when you’re going to get to the point. Is it afternoon tea time yet? I’d love a coffee.

Me: As soon as I saw the silver cuff I knew it was the one.

Anthony: The one what?

Me: The bangle that you would have wanted to give me….

Anthony: I’m sure it was, Jules….

Me: So I explained to Tim that the reason I hadn’t been into his shop for a few years was because you weren’t well and you were in a nursing home.

Anthony: I remember him – great bloke.

Me: I didn’t tell him I’d been wearing bangles you’d bought me years ago, pretending they were brand new.

Anthony: You didn’t tell me either.

Me: Well, I’m telling you now! So that’s why I figure I am kind of owed around four years worth of bangles maybe.

Anthony: Interesting logic.

Me: And then I told Tim you’d died and could he give me a discount for being a bereaved widow. I didn’t really mean to say that, it just popped out so I explained that you’d taught me the art of bargaining, or is it bartering, and he said you’d be proud of me and he knocked off a third of the price!

Anthony: Amazing.

Me: It’s not amazing; it’s amazing! Are there any exclamation mark classes where you are because you really need to lift your game.

Anthony: Show me the bangle and I’ll give you my opinion.

Me: See? Here it is, Ants. It’s a cuff; I’ve never had one before. Thank you!

Anthony: Why are you so excited?

Me: Because you gave me a gift and it marks the first year of me surviving without you.

Anthony: I actually haven’t been dead for a year yet but, what the hell, you’re right, Jules, it’s a lovely piece of work. Get it engraved.

Me: Really? Are you sure? So, something like ‘To my darling Julie, with all my love, from her eternally-besotted husband, Anthony’?

Anthony (laughing): No.

Me (laughing): What then?

Anthony: Just our initials will do.

[Note: Tim Cunningham is the jeweller at Baroque. He was so kind to me today. Perhaps he sensed that just underneath my excitement at buying the silver cuff was the devastation of having lost the physical presence of Anthony. Anyway, I asked Tim if it would be okay to share his website here and he said yes so here it is: baroquedesign.com.au]

 

 

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