62

2nd Ramadan

Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have turned 62.

I was finally able to convince dad to buy a new sofa. Our current one is old and tired, and the cushions are in desperate need of changing – but no one makes B-shaped cushions this size anymore. I was thrilled when he agreed, thrilled when we eventually decided on which kind, and I was still thrilled when making the deposit. A new sofa…that would really change the look of the house. I hit submit.

And immediately, my heart sank to the pit of my stomach. A new sofa…means getting rid of the current sofa. The sofa mum liked, and chose, and bought when furnishing our new home in 1996. A new sofa means…not looking at the armchair and seeing her sitting there. A new sofa means…losing a tangible part of my memory of her. A new sofa means…disrupting her interior design. It’s not like we haven’t moved things around since she died, or purchased new stuff. But the sofa set is a major part of the house…it feels wrong.

Truth be told, I have half a mind to shove the current sofa set into the spare room; it doesn’t matter that it wouldn’t be where she left it, as long as I could still see it if I wanted to.

In four short years, it’ll be 18 years since she passed – the exact number of years my mother’s father had been dead when I asked her, all innocently and impropos of nothing, “Do you still miss him? Do you still cry?” To which she answered, “Yes, I still miss him a lot. Yes, I still cry.” If somebody were to ask me the same questions in 2022, I would say the same thing.

How could a person whose toes I still see poking out of the sandals that I don’t have the heart to throw away, whose cracked heels I still feel on my legs where she would deliberately rub against to annoy me, whose random notes are still everywhere in the house, whose legendary fried rice I still taste in my mouth, whose mirror still reflects her face, whose laugh I hear when I laugh…

How could a person so, so alive in my mind be so, so dead?

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