The Bottle of Yearning.

Jackie Morris is running a competition on her blog – anyone can enter – you just have to know what’s in the bottle… I knew as soon as I saw it…

The bottle

The bottle was bought from a Singapore market, on a heat drenched street hung with laundry that fluttered high above like bunting.

The money that paid for it was intended for light cotton clothes, for sweet smelling pineapple, for chest easing Tiger Balm, but the bottle winked its ruby eye in the brilliant sun and my Mother could not resist it. Nestled between soft white towels, she picked it up.

The orb warmed her palm, the chain trailed heavily over her pale fingers and briefly took her mind off the pulsing headache that clouded her thoughts. A pink-cheeked child, in a white bonnet, tugged at her skirt. Me. My brother lay sleeping in his pram, shaded by a duck scattered parasol. Postcards of exotic birds tucked beside him, waiting to be sent home to Granma and Grandad.

‘What do you think Kate? Will Daddy like it?’

Light bounced from the bottle.

I shook my head, hot and cross.

‘Ducks’

‘Oh you monkey, aren’t you excited that Daddy’s coming home?’

She pressed a finger on my nose. In minutes we were walking again, pushing my brother ahead, the silver bottle tucked beside him.

We were all hot when we got home. She filled the paddling pool but the pain in her head was blinding now and drove her, stiffly,  into the shade. I splashed for a while on my own. When bedtime came she could barely talk. The bottle swung from her neck as she kissed us goodnight and stumbled from the room.

In the morning, my brother was crying in his cot. She was not there. I pushed open the door to her room and crossed to where she lay on the bed, coiled for sleep but too still.  The bottle was clasped in her hand. I took it, dropped it around my own neck, the chill of it shocking my skin. I clambered up next to her, pressed my downy cheek next to hers.

Cold.

All my cries would not wake her. All my hugs and kisses.

All my tears.

She left us the bottle.

In it are all the I-love-yous she never got to say. All the happy-birthdays and good-lucks, all the I’ll-miss-yous. Every well-done and I’m-proud-of-you that should have been ours.

Every I-am-here

And

I-will-stay-with-you.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. jackie says:

    Beautiful. But I fear that this is true. All those missed moments that make the now so precious.
    Thank you, Kathryn.
    And in it too all the amazement of seeing you grown, all the kisses for grandchildren not yet dreamed of, and all the love. Especialy the love.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

  2. nannydotes says:

    if i could write as eloquently as you i might be able to express better how proud Vivian would be of her wonderful children and grand children. The photo’s brought tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart that she had to miss “the wonder years”However i am sure she is sitting on a cloud some where watching and waiting for the time when you are all back together and she can tell you herself what a treasure you are and how she has never stopped loving you. xxxxx

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      xxx

  3. annsie says:

    so beautifully written and so sad, i also had a little weep. She has not left you, she is there very time you look at Emily, every time Emily smiles at you or hugs you it is like a double blessing. She would have been very proud of you and Gary and would have made an amazing grandma.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      I know, I do xxx

  4. kmlockwood says:

    Too moved to write much. Lovely, Kathryn.

  5. Julie Wilkie says:

    XXXX……..xxxxxxxxxx

  6. gordon and June smith says:

    Iam lost for words ,it is so right Kathryn.
    We love you and Gary very much.
    Viv lives on in both of you,and your beautiful children.
    Iknow regrets are a waste of time however I do have a few!!!
    Love to you all Aunty June and Uncle Gordonxxx

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Love you too xxxxx

  7. Di Toft says:

    Absolutely beautiful

  8. That took my breath away. Beautiful. Totally.x

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Thank you x

  9. What a poingant post. What a wonderful story so glad to have found your blog through this compitition.
    Johnina 😀

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Thank you Johnina x

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