Monday, October 29, 2007

Objects of my desire IV

When my sister in law's mother died, my mum took her out and they bought a lipstick togther. My mum had never been close to Anne, but in (Anne's) grief they were drawn together, My mum provided a shoulder to cry on, and the lipstick was their first true bonding experience.

Years later she and I bought a lipstick together, identical brand, identical shade, and for different reasons it was also a bonding experience. Now we have this shared, intimate object, which we use everyday and which reminds us of one another, although we are far far apart. It is almost as though she is here with me

Objects of my desire III

The Emperor
When I was a young woman, I had a three month love affair with a pianist. As well as being a semi professional pianist, he had another career underway, he was handsome, polite, good at sport, gentlemanly. In short, he was the one that got away.

One hot summer evening I went to hear him play Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto in a major concert hall in the city. I remember the hot city smells and the faint sound of birdsong from a nearby park and how green the trees looked through a neaby open window. My heart swelled with pride love and passion.

I have no idea why it didn't last. My insecurities made me think he could never be mine and made me so suspicious of him. I actually dumped him. I have no idea why. I was totally infatuated with him.

Still the sound of this concerto brings it all back, but in a good way. I remember that heart stopping, breath taking sensation of young love, and it is mine again.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Objects of my desire II

In the aftermath of my separation from Simon. Life became quite chaotic. I moved into a small flat near to my work, became an exhausted single mother and called in favours from all my friends to help me juggle work and motherhood. Simon treated his depression with an energetic burst of internet dating which made him essentially unavailable for parental duties. Officially too sick, I suspected he was actually too busy trying to get better by finding someone new to love. Anyway, with the separation, I lost my wheels, and it took me some months to get a new set. Months of trudging back from the supermarket on the bus with bags and bags of shopping strung over my wrists, to add to my already all encompassing exhaustion.

Imagine the joy when my parents came to visit and with their hire car, I was able to visit car yards and find the car of my very modest dreams. It cost less than $2000, was over ten years old and had a perplexing rattle. But it was (or had been in its day) red, sporty and full of personality.

This was my freedom car. A clapped out little Honda Civic to get me to and from the shops. Or to the beach at the weekend. All mine, my choice, my money. I was in heaven.

Since meeting my new partner, the car got a bit of a thrashing, being used for commuting more than I had ever planned, and it finally died this year, but man did I love that car and all it represented.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Objects of my desire

My great uncle Herbert was a dentist, and, like many dentists was good with his hands. You may not know this, but there is a significant cult of dentists who take up jewellry making, with varying degrees of success. My mother tells me that a few of the men in Herbert's graduating class made their wives' wedding rings in a grand romantic gesture. More recently I notce Missouri state has set jewellry making as a prerequisite for dentistry, clearly being good with your hands had moved from being a coincidence a requirement.

When Herbert retired he made jewellry for all his female relatives. When it came to my turn I was priveleged to be involved in the design process. He called me in and asked me the kind of thing I would like. Having recently returned from a school exchange, where I had seen, and coveted, some Inca bracelets in a market, I asked him to make me a silver cuff bracelet with of lapis lazuli stone. He hummed and hawwed for some time and then said it would have to be my christmas AND birthday present because it was going to take a lot of silver (I think it was 25 dollars worth in 1981). He kept the making secret and delivered it to me at Christmas, he had dug out one of Aunty Maud's old jewellry boxes with the name of an old time jeweller stamped in the yellow crushed velvet interior. It truly was a thing of beauty.

(Not the real bracelet)

Some of my aunties had scoffed at Herbert's style, but this was his finest hour. My mother said it was the best thing he ever made. I have kept it and worn it for over 20 years. About 10 years ago Herbert died, and this thing has taken on a precious significance. Herbert was a cultured and wise man, but in many ways he annoyed me. When I got engaged to Simon, who Herbert didn't really know, Herberts one take on the subject was "For goodness sake marry a man that can work, and for god's sake Fiona even his family has disowned him. At the time I couldn't even see a grain of truth in this, I thought he was an interfering old man, but his words have come back to haunt me...

Once when I was about 12 I was I was trying to play A Bach Prelude he insisted on singing Gounod's Ave Maria over the top in a raspy voice. Thus stealing my thunder and distracting me at the same time.

A few months ago I was driving along and this same piece came on the radio. Suddenly I felt not only his memory but his very presence in my life. Tears pricked my eyes, his jewellry, his memory and his wisdom have never left me.