Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lost Time

I walk into her house and into the familiar smell which is a conglomerate of jasmine rice, incense and her. A familiar smell since I was a child. Her temple has the usual offerings of fruit, rice and sake. I can remember her kneeling there praying. I always knew this was quite time for her and I would just sit there and watch her as she chanted in Japanese and swayed back and forth with her prayer beads between her hands.

I pass by the Geisha dolls in the glass cases and the fragile Japanese teapots and cups. I was such a mischievous child, I can remember many times getting into trouble touching her teapots, but I never did touch the Geisha dolls. I would just stare at them for what seemed like hours admiring the intricacy of the painted faces and the costumes.

There she is, pacing around the kitchen, mumbling Japanese something or other. Graaandmaaa! I say in my most cheerful, do not scare her because she can’t hear voice. She looks up and her whole face lights up. Ooooh, I surpised! I don’t know you come! She cackles and welcomes me with a hug. You eat? Sit! I fix you rice. I move the pile of newspapers over and sit down at her Lucite table. A table today that is called “Vintage” and would have a nice “vintage” price.

After her determined attempt to stuff me like a thanksgiving turkey, she finally sits down and we chat. We chat about family, life the future. In her broken English she keeps telling me she is going to go ka poot soon, ka poot! And lets out that cackling laugh. I laugh with her, but deep down I know she is right and deep down I am not laughing. I want to believe she is going to be around for at least 10 more years, but I’m not so sure anymore. Hear health is a little rocky right now and her memory is going. I know she knew who I was even though she had to ask me what my name is. I knew it was hard for her to ask me, but it was just my name.

I’ve spent the last year doing my own thing. Since I was 17 my life has been devoted to being a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister. I approached a point in my life where the path I decided to take was my own. I don’t want to regret this but I may have missed the last year a person so dear to me was completely there to hear me say I love you and I think about you everyday.

I’ve lost my chance to just knit with her, her hands don’t work so great anymore. I’ve lost my chance to go to her place of worship, it’s far away and she doesn’t like to go out these days. I’ve lost my chance to learn some of her greatest recipes, she still cooks, but it does tire her out quickly now.

I still have time to really hear her stories and record them. I still have time to visit and take care of her so she does not feel so alone. I still have time to understand her culture so maybe I can carry on some of her traditions. I still have time tell her, I love you and I think about you everyday.