This Empty Northern Hemisphere
There was a slice of cake on the table, my favourite kind. Mum keeps me a piece of everything she cooks, even if I'm not visiting. And today, I arrived during one of her soaps, when she was tucked neatly in a gentle sway on her chair. She felt for all those characters, their joy was her pride and harsh times played for her pity.
I pushed the fork until the sponge parted to reveal the ceramic, with a clink. Quietly, my attention drifted to Mum's part of the sky, within her stained windows.
There was a sudden clamour for snow, a wish that would endanger those distant palm trees, married to the north wind. "A blizzard in the tropics", the headlines would read, much to the dismay of my pen pal. Her fancy for temperate isles came with a lavish affair of chasing cray in the mud and pushing flirtatious pirates overboard.
" I don't like peas anymore, " she signed her last letter.
A single shrivelled pea, stranded on a gravy boat, deciding whether to follow the burns on its skin or the chills down its spine. Yes, even I don't like the idea of it, the familiarity of its condition.
Cynthia was kind. She drove us back from the nursing home that night. It was a different time with different people in unlike tenses and a latitude running between them, through the car.
"Don't run out of dirt whilst chasing your fossils," she put in one of her therapeutic encyclopedias. She sold a lot of her stuff and Mum keeps the rest of them. Maybe if I ask, she might bury this longing in her trinkets too.
"Ma, where's your mail?"
I rushed to the busted mailbox that held up unchecked mail like a drunkard's rambling.
A dusty old postcard beneath the foreclosures and magazines. 'The arctic psychedelic', another one of her dramatic titles; her enigma dwindled in the aurora and the surprise on her face was not lost on me, neither was her footnote in faded ink.
"Hey sheepdog, they got those good prairies you liked. I'm sorry about Ma, I wish I could show her this museum. Love to both of you!"
I looked into the room to check on Mum. She was still glued to the TV screen. Of all the times I complained about the writing errors in her operas, this wasn't one of them.
"মা, ভাল আছো তো?" ("Ma, are you doing fine?")
I wished I could answer no, but she remained silent.
I sat beside her and watched the remainder of the show.
Yes, we needed an ending like that, with some resemblance of completion and someone to take care of the void that follows in this empty northern hemisphere.