As the actual date of my Rosemary’s death recedes (December 9, 2020) I find myself in many ways worse than in the immediate sorrow of her parting. Solitude and loneliness are settling in most uncomfortably.
I drop off my daughter Hilary twice a week at her house in Burnaby after serving her as nice a dinner as I can cook for her. As I drive home I have and feel a warmth in my heart for the fact my two cats Niño and Niña will be waiting for me.
They are not human and there is no circumstance where they could replace or even compensate for not having the presence of Rosemary. But they definitely have some sort of presence and they stare at me and vie for my attention. As soon as I turn off the lights they are close to me or lie on top. They don’t even attempt to wake me up in the morning to be fed.
So the day is the routine of breakfast in bed with the papers after having fed the cats and allowed them out into the deck (Niño is allowed to go outside the house). I clean and put stuff into its place and then figure out what I can do to divide the day. This may involve shopping at Safeway and now that my bicycle is fully fixed to cycle on Point Grey Road.
In the afternoon I might watch the Rachel Maddow show. I avoid films as this was something I only did with Rosemary. Since her death I have avoided what was our regular Saturday night pleasure which was to watch Film Noir on TCM.
Ultimately the last calming pleasure of the day is to be had in the tub. I put in lots of magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salts) and my daughter Hilary has given me little bottles of Lavender and of vetiver. I read the NY Times editorial page and Niño, on top of the wicker clothes-to-be-washed hamper stares at me.
It is in the comfort of the hot water that I then find myself missing Rosemary. She was a tub woman. In her youth she avoided showers as she was afraid of losing her contact lenses. In Mexican heat she would take cool tub baths.
In our Kits home, where all the plumbing worked and the tub did not leak, (that was not the case in our former lovely home in Kerrisdale where we could not afford plumbing repairs), Rosemary often took baths. We had no compunction in sharing our bath water.
So as I lie in the tub I think that at one time I would have said, “Rosemary do you want the water?” She would have answered in the affirmative.
As I washed my hair last night I looked at the shampoo container and as things go these days I think, “She bought this. As soon as it is finished I will have to buy some more.” Will her presence in the house be diminished?
I have a few photos of Rosemary in the tub with one of our daughters. I regret that I never made any effort of taking photos of her alone.
In the photograph here it is Aja a friend of mine and of the now departed Mark Budgen. Her photos in Budgen’s tub were the original ones that I took which led to me taking pictures of many women I tubs and had my first show in Vancouver.