Daffodils in January

A very dear friend of mine lost their mum recently. I knew her a little, and liked her more. It was very sudden. It was a huge shock. I found out about the illness while I was in America. The funeral was last week.

The dad wanted to immediately throw away all her clothes, and I ended up volunteering to get a car and get myself to Uxbridge in order to fill it with clothing and other important things. I certainly know the value of a clothing inheritance. I was dressed up in a smart suit for my casting in the morning, and the shoes and shirt were both my uncle’s. The scarf I wore was my mum’s. I often wear my dad’s hat.

I never wear these lovely things without a thought to the departed ones.

First problem is, no car…

At Christmas I joined Zipcar before I realised that every single Zipcar in London had been reserved for the whole day already. I’ve sat on the membership ever since, thinking it might come in handy. Today it did. Up to Middlesex through angry roads full of shouty boys. Into a little roadway and up into the house where two old friends were sorting clothes into suitcases.

Mum died a long time ago now, and I’ll often tell you that my grief is “understood” or “processed” so I can avoid talking about it. Can we ever really recalibrate after the first contact that we ever have had with the material world took place inside their body? There was never a world without mum until there was always a world without mum.

I helped package the things and then I sat next to my friend in the car and we drove and talked. Only after the car was loaded and we were on the road did the rain start to fall. Torrential rain, battering London, flooding the roads, hammering onto the windscreen. Huge, hard, driving, cleansing rain. The Zipcar was excellent. Clever wipers keeping visibility good, tyres feeling solid and safe on suddenly nasty roads. It’s an argument against buying another £300 disaster-cart on Gumtree. We made the drop-offs and took the Zipcar back to Mornington Crescent where it sleeps. I had booked way too many hours, as I didn’t know you can extend your hours if you need to and I didn’t want time pressure to be involved in the process. Still it only cost me about £60 all in, despite driving into the Congestion Charge Zone, and up to Uxbridge and back. I think I’ll start to make more use of them what with temporary sober-Al.

Ending the day in North London, I decided to stay at my friend’s place as I’m taking care of it up in Hampstead by the heath. I stopped at Marks and Spencer’s in South End Green, and they are selling daffodils at the checkout. Daffodils. In January. And suddenly I’m crying at the checkout.

The last conversation I had with mum was about daffodils.

I don’t normally have to look at the things until late February and I know to get ready.

The wave passes very quickly as it can now. I don’t buy the daffodils, and I walk back to the flat simultaneously swearing and wondering at a world where they’re having to push daffs in January, likely because they came up too early and there’ll be another frost.

Here’s the view from my bedroom, because as ever I took no photos. Until now.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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