Day Forty: Smile

An old music-loving friend recently sent me this song. While it's not officially part of my mixed tape, it has been getting a lot of air time.

Today was kind of a rough day. I was looking for some Advil and came across my Mom's toiletry bag in the kids' bathroom vanity. It's made of grey mesh so that the contents are visible from the outside: two toothbrushes with covers on them, a half-used tube of toothpaste, a travel size container of mouthwash, dental floss, and a matchbox from a restaurant called Jack's. The matchbox caught my eye as being out of place, so I decided to open the bag and take it out for further inspection. I got another surprise: my Mom had removed the matches and filled it with toothpicks. It made me laugh a little because that was a typical thing she did, repurpose things.  

The matchbox is worn and the strip of sulfur on the side is completely useless. It has seen better days. The address of Jack's places it right across the street from where my Mom worked until the day she retired, a job she held for about 25 years. The likelihood of Jack's still being a viable business is probably nil, but it's on my list of places to visit the next time I find myself in the city. And I'll be going soon, doing a tour of all the spots my Mom used to inhabit: her old office, the shops she often visited, the Church where she attended Mass during lunch or after work. And now Jack's. I'll go to the addresses of these places and hope they still are as they were when my Mom was alive. But if they aren't, at least being there will make me feel a little closer to her. I'll remember her there and feel her presence.

I closed up the grey mesh bag and put it back in the bathroom vanity; there's a part of me that isn't ready to admit that she will never visit again, so the bag will stay put. But I took the matchbox. It now resides on my work table, part of a makeshift shrine to my Mom. Whenever I come across something of hers that I can't bear to part with, I place it on my work table. Sometimes I take an object and carry it with me all day long, and then place it back on the table before heading to bed.

As of this moment, I still have a headache. There is no Advil in any of the bathrooms. But I'm listening to this song sent by my friend. Today I'm accepting the sadness for what it is and letting a little happy music influence my thoughts.