If there are obsessions that haunt me there are two that will not go away.
One of them is about moments in one’s past that somehow, few of us (me, specially), never think about how they will affect us or remember in the future. Those past moments are called memories. There seems to be no word for its opposite (to look forward) beyond “prediction”.
Another obsession is that about first times and last times. This particular one is in my mind all the time. I squeeze the last bit of toothpaste (I did this this morning) and I immediately think, “This will be the last tube of toothpaste that my Rosemary will have bought.” I will have to buy one on my own (I did).
Often in these blog pages I have mentioned that what makes us supremely human is our ability to connect disparate stuff through association – thus toothpaste/Rosemary.
As I wrote here April 18 is my real (legal) but fake birthday. Tomorrow, April 19 is Rosemary’s real birthday. So I immediately think and have been thinking all day, “This will be the first birthday of hers that I will not share with her.”
There are enough Facebook postings “My grandmother would have been 125 today,” that make me gag. I don’t understand these in the least. But privately and personally I am awfully melancholic on the eve of Rosemary's birthday.
One way for me to celebrate this is to again use that SX-70 Polaroid snap that I took of her in our empty Burnaby home in 1975. It is now safely framed so that it will not get lost.
My mother used to say that a house was not a home until you put a picture on a wall. My Kits home is full of pictures and photographs everywhere. The guest bathroom has lots of them. When I enter it the first photographs I see are the famous Polaroid and a 1966 graduation-from-Queens portrait of Rosemary.
But in that first-and-last vain I contemplate sadly that tomorrow Rosemary will not be around and the constant association of stuff that reminds me of her; memories that remind me of her; staring at Niño and Niña and thinking that they are a direct connection with Rosemary (is it how they stare at me?) will make this April 19 one that I will experience for the first time. How many years will pass before it will be my last?
And, yes, the house in Burnaby in the 1975 Polaroid (no pictures on the walls) was Rosemary's first and mine in Canada. My present home in Kitsilano was her last.