Wednesday, May 30, 2012

13) Leaving Nancy

Eric Bogle preceded me. A Scottish Australian, his song is about leaving his mother, called Nancy. He asks her not to cry when he has to leave by train after a brief visit. It sounds like a song I could have written! M'Lady was indeed very brave. We parted without tears. Perhaps because I was being wheeled away by the Perth air attendant, or perhaps because of some deep instinct of not wanting to repeat sad pasts, I did not see M'Lady walk away. Even as I write, my tears well up. We just have to see each other again! The last time I saw my father was at an airport terminal in Thunder Bay, Canada, 1980. He gave me a backwards glance just before the security check in, clutching at one of my paintings. So too for my mother. She gave me one of those same last minute glances as she was being wheeled away at the Calgary Airport Terminal, 2001. Three weeks later, she was dead. Nancy, at 90, discussed death with me. But she has every intention of pursuing life, of doing our joint project to write her story, and even of coming to visit Canada yet once more. Here, let me play it again. "Leaving Nancy". You cannot hear it, but on my iPad last night I downloaded the song. It is so very poignant. So perfect. It was Nancy herself who alerted me to it, and I copied the title and its singer into my notebook. And now in this Sydney hotel, late last night, thanks to iTunes, it easily was available. A mere 99 cents! And right now, as the phrase again comes out, "Goodbye, my Nancy, oh", I do indeed fight off tears. It was only when alone on the plane, as I watched the 'City of Angels', that I found myself weeping. And at the death scene, when the protagonist stands over the dying one with such an expression of overwhelming love on his face, I wept deeply, hurtfully. Singing: "Let me hold you one last time, before the whistle blows." It is just after 5:07 a.m. as I write. From this 26th floor Four Seasons Hotel Room, #2615, courtesy of Sir Mike Jablonski, there is a commanding view over Sydney harbor. Even from the bed, through the corner window, I can see the famous flares of the white wings of the Sydney Opera House, and just to the left is the lit up span of the giant bridge. It is indeed magical. That Mike Jablonski, he does not do things by halves. Sir Justin is in room #2614, just next door. Late last night, after our fellow knight, Sir Rob, had transported our two 'feral' selves in his new Jeep around the night-lit vistas of the harbor, playing the colorful and informative tourist guide, and at last deposited us in our rooms, Sir Justin brought in his bottle of complimentary wine and cheese plate to make truck with mine, and we sat in the chairs before the magnificence of the view, and caught up with events until now. Justin's flight log is incredible, 36 hours of being in the air to get to Singapore, given that he started in Denver, went to Frankfurt, back to Nottingham, back to Frankfurt, back to Denver, and on to Singapore, then flew here. And still he beat me; he was waiting with Rob at the domestic Terminal about two hours before I arrived. Neither of us had had dinner. And now, as we devoured the cheese and biscuits, dried apricots and prunes, we were two weary but happy- chappies, indeed. It is two hours ahead of Sydney time back in Perth. That makes it now 7:54, there. I wonder, has M'Lady arisen to go open the curtains on the sunrise as usual, day after day? Here, let me replay you the song, singing, "goodbye, my Nancy, oh!"

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