Tuesday, 8 May 2012

8: A Lid Left Up

Gail’s mother Grace had been dead for almost 6 months before Gail found out.  She had been travelling to “find herself”.  Gail visited the cemetery and all she could see was a small headstone marking the grave, her mother’s brother thinking she would want to arrange a more permanent memorial herself.  He claimed he couldn't locate her in Asia, but she was never more than a few days away from email contact. 

When grief should have been beginning to diminish, Gail was caught in its sharpest grip.  There was nobody to help her clear the house which had stood empty since the night the ambulance drove Grace away.  Dishes sat on the draining board, left to air dry and never put away.  Mail piled up behind the front door, mostly flyers and electioneering leaflets for councillors chasing every extra vote.  Gail wondered if they had knocked at the door to enquire whether they could offer Mrs Burton a lift to the polling station, not noticing that the curtains never moved and inside a layer of thick dust was building up on everything.

Her father had bought them an upright piano when Gail started lessons in 1979.  Her own interest barely lasted into the 80s, whilst her mother discovered she had a musical ear nobody else in the family shared.  Grace took lessons for several years and kept the piano in her lounge even after Gail left home.  The lid was up and the keys coated with dust.  She knew her mother always kept the lid down when she wasn’t playing, so had she been sitting on the piano stool when the chest pains struck?  Or simply distracted by the phone or doorbell and forgotten to lower it?

Gail pulled out the stool and sat, placing her fingers over the notes.  She traced out the notes of childhood songs she could remember, lifting dust away with her fingertips.  Her mother had loved Ravel and taught Gail Bolero when it became popular in the 1984 Winter Olympics.  Gail picked out the first few notes on the keys, finding her way around the keyboard slowly then with more confidence.  She closed her eyes, feeling the music flow and imagined Torville and Dean gliding across the ice to perfect sixes whilst her mother listened from her favourite chair.

 Tonight's prompt was a picture from 1000words on Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/pin/164944405072726016/

1 comment:

  1. Sad but beautiful. I'm glad she was able to find her mother in the music.