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The International Writers Magazine - Our 23rd Year: Life Stories Archives

My Niece
Jude Perera

Cheeky, dimpled smile, chubby cheeks, head slanted in a lovable and affectionate pose. It looks faded and grainy; but it’s my favorite photo of her. It has never left my bed head over the years ever. She looked so cute then. Well she still does.

She looked so strong and resolute at the civil courts this morning. It soothed me as I wilted under the ruling. That whisper of a kiss; that reassuring press of the hand; that ghost of a smile; were just the elixir I needed. The dashing young male specimen that she clung on to however; was all smiles. They made the perfect couple.
I must nurture the feeble smile; her weak stammers as she struggled to illustrate the enigma of late classes; regularly, were hilarious.

Valentine cards with words of scorching passion; secured between texts of commercial law; but that was no deterrent, she aced law school. They both did; their ambitions were in sweet accord. Virtues that promised the best in life; I was relieved. Intuition can be such a wicked liar sometimes.

The memory is still fragrant, how she glowed in her poor mother’s bridal. She looked the picture of my sole sibling. My chest still swells with pride as I recall my crowning glory; the fruit of my labors bedecked in white.

But the tears return; my loyal companion over the past weeks.
My nerves cringe as I transfer the photo frame gently to my open suitcase on the bed. I was terrified that I might drop it. This cursed Parkinsons can’t simply leave my hands alone. It’s a twitch I might have to endure; well hopefully not for long. The countless albums and a few of her toys have taken up all the space in my little trunk; it seems. I can make out my paltry clothing items peering from underneath. I can pick up a few rags at the retirement rest; not a big deal. Well I did enjoy fine attire in the distant past. It’s time to move on.

The gentle prattle of the drizzle outside is soothing. I used to love these rain swept evenings. But today it feels so different, so melancholical, and brooding. It’s the last time I would listen to the rain from within these walls. I have been ordered out; there’s no room for an old woman, a devalued currency.

We used to sit in our open verandah and make paper boats. I indulged in her squeals of delight and wide-eyed wonder as they sailed away in the storm water drains. The discordant drums of thunder, which accompanied the blinding flashes of light, would send us packing inside. We would huddle in our little kitchen and pray to saint Barbara to appease the noise. Anything for a good cuddle; thank god for those showers. I don’t want to chase the moist out of my eyes.

I guess I could always appeal to the good nature of the new owners to indulge an old woman some time in her former dwelling. The only home I knew; where I savored motherhood with my niece. I jump at the sound of a horn; can’t be the taxi surely; can’t be this soon. My hands tremble violently as I peer through the blinds; phew; just a passing vehicle. I still have a few minutes to savor.

My strength is a negligible force on the suitcase; it’s too crammed heaped with her little souvenirs. There is only one-way; throw away the paltry rags that lie at the bottom; they have no value. I have to gasp as I hear the thankful click.
My roses and camellias, my labour of love; who will tend to my other offspring? They bloomed daily under my care; my private discourses with them earned her generous ridicule. I want to feel them for the last time, the impulse is overbearing. I pant towards the door; but the rain’s incensed; thank goodness for the storm. I would hate to see them again; let them wither away and die; I will not see their end. Out of sight is out of mind as they say.

The horn stifles my breathing; it’s so loud. The thunder beneath my ribcage is no less brazen. I don’t bother to part the blinds; miracles surely don’t happen in twos. The suitcase weighs a ton; I lug it towards the door. The bright yellow shatters any illusions; hopes, my subconscious might have entertained.

The turbaned gentleman is steeped in values; he is in the verandah already and takes over my heavy box with painful ease. His innocent smile snubs my pain; surely he cares; he must also know gratitude.

I brace for the icy shock; but the rain feels warm and comforting. He gently helps me into the back seat. The car pulls out of the gate slowly; too slowly. He can’t see me holding my breath; I will not look back.

The tears pour as never before; I can’t help it. My chest heaves racked by abject desolation. He stops the car; turns and holds my arm in a gentle grip. He does not insult me with words of solace; but just holds me. His eyes; pools of compassion.

Compassion still thrives; he’s living proof. I feel fleeting peace once more. I pray that she will find the same before long in my house, our home.

© Jude Perera Nov 1st 2009
Email: gogo72au at

My Mom
Jude Perera

Mom did her best to patch us up; but my hurt was too deep, I couldn’t hack it anymore. The bastard never said a word in defense; I wish he had

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