It’s early morning about 5am. As usual, I’ve had a late night and only a few hours sleep.There’s rustling in the house and I guess Lina, the housemate is already up. Lina is from the Phillipines, around my age. Once her kids left home she decided to simplify her life and move into our share house. She’s an early bird with the opposite body clock to me.
Lazily I stretch for my phone to check that mum’s still sleeping. The ap reveals a fish-eye view of her room including her walker parked next to the bidet, but mum is nowhere in sight. Oh no, she’s somewhere in the house. That dreaded feeling. I need to get up.
I drag my tired body out of bed and wrap my dressing gown around me. My ears are cocked for any sound from mum, maybe she’s fallen over and is whimpering somewhere in the house. It’s chilly as I walk down the dark corridor.
When I open the kitchen door, the brightness hits me. There she is, happily sitting on the couch, clutching a hot cup of tea and munching on a piece of toast with peanut butter, a blanket over her knees. Mum’s eyes are fixated on Lina, a former ball-room instructor, performing a lively dance routine in front of her. Both of them are too absorbed to notice me. It’s such a joyous sight and I breathe a sigh of relief.
I try to sneak away to grab my phone and capture this precious moment, but the door creaks and they both look up. Lina is laughing and mum’s eyes are bright.
Oh Lina, thank you, thank you so much for keeping an eye on mum and preparing tea and toast for her.
My pleasure. You know, your mum was outside on the porch, she informs me. She’s still clutching my bra and hat. She chuckles.
I shudder to think of mum pottering outside in the frosty morning air, clad in only her nightie, and I make a note that from today I need to lock the front door as well as the back door, and hide the key. I thank Lina again and quietly, so as not to disturb Sisira who’s sleeping in the next room, tell her how grateful and fortunate I am to have her living with us.
She’s religious and winks, It’s God’s plan. Go to bed, I will be here looking after her. When she starts yawning, I’ll take her to bed.
Luck doesn’t last forever so I smile and slip away to my room. Back in my cosy bed, I jot down some notes about mum and Lena in the kitchen, and then doze off.