Saturday 1 October 2011

Sugar cubes

Our dear friend and neighbour, Mona, was here long before us. Trim with a thick New Zealand accent, dark rimmed glasses, cropped grey hair, comfortably clothed, she reliably causes Squid to sob. It will be a year next week since her partner died.

Aside from our neighbour the only other Mona I’ve ever known was my great aunt. She married my grandmother’s brother. The only boy of five children, my great uncle worked at Mobil until he was made redundant and consequently suffered depression. My grandfather had a house built for him on the farm and employed him as the caretaker. I remember him well on the red tractor in navy blue overalls, or standing by the great, grey shed overlooking the dam. I can still smell that shed; the hay, the thermos, the earth. The shed housed sugar cubes for tea at smoko. My brothers and I sucked through them while being pulled behind the tractor on a farming contraption better suited to ploughing. Hanging from the cattle yards, we’d watch my great uncle mingle with the cows, he looked at ease and content.

Mona was never out in the paddocks with us. On afternoons we’d walk down the road to see her. She’d be in the front of the house with pieces of her pottery scattered here and there. Mona drove a pale yellow beetle VW and was Olley-esque. To enter their home, we’d walk through a converted garage, which was my uncle’s music room. He’d play the organ for us, but on Sundays he’d play at church. He died of a heart attack mending the bridge over the lower creek.

Mona stayed on in the house, but her mind aged more poorly than her body. My grandmother said that she’d have piles and piles of oranges in the kitchen having forgotten that she’d already been shopping. Eventually, she required full-time care. There, she met Bill, and at an ancient age, found love again and remarried.

Puzzles, crosswords and Sudoku are said to stave off a slowing, ageing mind. I’ve never been one for crosswords and such, and I doubt great aunt Mona was either. A gardener, a potter and artist she once even joined the circus. A wistful self who found love again. I wonder if our Mona next door ever dreams of love again. She’s less wistful, but wistfulness isn’t a precursor for love.


  1. I think you need hope to find love. Not hope of finding the right person but hope that you'll be open to see it when it finds you x

  2. Thanks for commenting Sar. Congratulations on your blog milestone ! Fab.