Mum’s Birthday, Perfume and Soup.

I didn’t know how I felt this morning when I woke up. She died almost 4 years ago.

On the Birthday before she died I had bought her an audio tape of Jane Eyre, and some watercolours, paper and a paint brush. They all stayed in their wrappers because it was too late.

I wanted to feel her near me so I decided to keep busy. I took the baby for her second pair of shoes in John Lewis. I wandered around for 2 hours, letting Lilou walk in her new shoes, looking at the toys and clothes.

Then I went into the bistro there on the third floor. As I waited for my soup and salad I realised, all around me were women of my mother’s age. And of her type. Middle class, well presented, with their nice carrier bags, not from purchases just made, but which had been neatly folded and saved in a ‘bag’ bag somewhere, ready to come out for a trip into town. I always saved her any bags from Liberty, or Fortnum and Mason because she would re-use them whenever she needed an extra one. Never a tesco bag with my Mum, and, I imagine never with these ladies either.

I could smell perfume too. It happened that one lady sat down on the table nearest to me wearing her perfume. Chanel 19. That was her favourite. Her little indulgence.

I suddenly felt close to her again. The soup, the perfume, the controlled tones, the posh little bags saved from another day.

I was comforted. She would have had the soup with me, although I may have been told that I was scooping the soup out from the bowl in the wrong direction.

Happy Birthday, Mum.

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