Day 81

Written 9 June, 2020


We’ve settled into a regime of going to the flat everyday to write and work because at Marg’s there’s no internet, and it’d take ages to get it put on. My novel, GG’s eternal play. He keeps re-writing it, though that’s not quite what he does – abandoning it and re-starting, even though I’ve heard him laugh uproariously as his characters speak. But now they’re dead, and he’s laughing at new ones.

Yesterday i sent a list of references to a neuroscientist at ANU whose specialty is not the neuroscience of creativity. I didn’t dare ask what his was, in case I didn’t understand a word. I’ve been reading in my very limited field, a tiny far-flung paddock, ever since my doctorate in 2006. I get tri-weekly updates of the latest papers, and my head is full  of stuff. I remember it because it’s comforting, and puts words on weird brain processes i feel, and am a little ashamed of because no oe talks of these things, only neuroscience. I wonder how many people do this, read in a particular area so as not to feel mad. My friend R asked me when she dropped over dinner tonight if I learned by heart the words I use in my videos.

No, it’s just a relief to speak it out loud. I remember theories and they’re attached to names and dates like balloons with coloured ribbons.

But in the afternoon,  an alarmed text had come from K at home. Marg had put a plastic up of tea on a lighted gas ring, and K had noticed the acrid smell and run to the kitchen. There’s now pink plastic stuck to the stove. And she’d said six times during chats that the moment before he died, her husband had sat up in bed and said:

Marg, I’ll love you forever.

She’d told us that the night we’d arrived. It was very moving then, and now, after her fall, that that’s the thought stuck in her brain.

I’ll love you forever.

Over dinner of last night’s soup, fish, gluten -free pasta elbows with parmesan and a green salad with a salty dressing of lemon and olive oil (Marg loves salt like I do),there aren’t enough chairs for R and her daughter, so i pull K onto my lap to make room.

I seldom get a chance to cuddle you.

She complains that I’m boney, and its true. We all slimmed down up the river.

‘R’s daughter picks up one of the dogs, Milly, the tiny one with yearning eyes who shivers all the time despite her red winter jacket, and holds it in her lap. A dog in her lap, my daughter in mine. There’s no sigh of Marg’s brain being awry. We all laugh and chat  and the visitors snack on our left-overs.  Warmth fizzes between us like champagne and once again, i can’t believe my luck.

But as we wave them off, I point out to Marg the beauty of fallen camellias on the grass, the pink petals curled still so ornately that even in death they seem like embroideries a dressmaker would sew onto the bust of a sparkling evening dress. A spray, they used to be called.

Marg bends down to short-sightedly examine the petals in the porch light. I’m touched, but also alarmed, to hear the wonder in her voice.

This is my home. This is my home. This is my home. This is my home.

Marg’s 90th birthday party

Leave a reply