As days go from one to the next it what seems to be an instant I reflect on my importance in this world. I ask myself, “Do I serve a purpose? Am I useful? Am I contributing to my society in general and to the smaller one in my surrounding Kitsilano?
At one time I had the duty to help Rosemary to be a breadwinner. I looked for work and when I got it I felt useful.
Now I reflect on what Rosemary went through when she stopped working and no longer drove her big Audi to the office.
I have come to know exactly what it was that she did besides the pleasure of tending our garden and doing her volunteer work as a Master Gardener and working part-time at the Shop-in-the-garden at the UBC Botanical Garden.
Rosemary was doing our finances. A job she did so well that I do not have to worry of that aspect in my life.
She cared and was preoccupied in helping her two daughters and two granddaughters. She was our most efficient travel agent and managed to get good airplane tickets and good seats. She kept and American Express card for the express purpose of being able to use airport lounges.
With her gone I look at my daily life and have come to an important conclusion.
I do have routines like breakfast in bed with the papers and feeding Niño and Niña. I look forward to the phone calls from my daughters and these are more than a routine. They are special.
Now it is the scanning season in the garden. Every day there is a new flower or rose in bloom. I cut it and scan it and save it in two exterior hard drives. I am not sure these scans serve any important purpose. I do know that I relax when I do them.
There is then, one singular moment in my daily life that I consider to be an important one. This is to walk Niño around the block when the weather permits it. I explain to surprised passers-by that Niño thinks he is a dog even though we walk without a leash. When either Benji or Scout (two large dogs owned by neighbours) is out on the street they approach Niño and lick his face. He likes the two.
Walking around the block brings melancholic memories of Rosemary doing this. I sometimes accompanied her. When I took him on my own she would tell me, “Don’t shout at him. Be patient and just wait.”
I don’t believe in ghosts but because we take Rosemary’s route I can feel a presence in me which makes me sad. Then Niño looks at me with that placid face of his and I know that things are all right. I wonder sometimes if he remembers Rosemary.
The latest with Niño, particularly now that it is getting warmer and I leave the door of my oficina open, is that he comes in and meows. Sometimes it is because his dish is empty of food. But most of the time he wants my attention. I place my photo studio chair by mine and he gets on it.
And so have company. I feel useful. I have a purpose.