Mum has been down with a virulent viral attack since a week now. Her room is dark most of the time. Sometimes, when she fancies a bit of sun, we draw the heavy, ivory drapes so that a little peach-tinted sunshine can float in and nestle around the rims of mirrors or in the deep folds of the quilt. Everything on the bed seems to have soaked up her fever. The pillows and sheets feel toasty; the bedspread could probably comfort someone coming in from a cold and clammy place. While the room itself is usually cheery, now it feels strained. My breaths are sharp and shallow because I am waddling through my own stuff and trying to meet deadlines at work. Mum’s breathing is labored but gentle.
One day, for no rhyme or reason, a really beautiful morning visited us at home. It came skipping across a few rolling hills, gathering sweet, strange wetness of grass in the dawn. There was a perfect guzzle of moisture in the air and a huge porridge bowl of light that was centered in the sky.
I usually spend a few minutes in the morning with Ma before I get down to the library to start work. She was sleeping, but something about the way her fingers twitched, made it seem that she wanted a bit more today. More than the usual backrub, kiss on the cheek, and gentle tiptoe out of the room.
So I simply got up and drew the curtains. There was such a song in the room that very second. A cool ticklish wind on my brow, a fresh, minty scent from somewhere. It seemed as if the essence of the very best seasons, usually bottled as perfume or wine, just floated in and made itself at home. The room looked as if I were watching it through a stretched buttercup petal. The young wind rustled a few papers, pranced around my mother, and brushed away any residue of a restless and uncomfortable night.
That second, it seemed as if the room took a long, deep breath.
I guess everything waits to exhale sometime.