For the First and Last Time

There have been many “last times” in my life. The “last time” I ran—fast—it was to catch up with a professor who was leaving on sabbatical with the master key. I haven’t laughed—hard—in a very long while. So, I’m inclined to think: I have laughed ‘til-I-cried, for the “last time.” Will I ever attempt to speak French—publicly—again? The last words I uttered in French were: Où sont les toilettes? It was in Paris. I don’t imagine I will ever get back there again, so that was probably the “last time” for that. (If only I’d said: Au Revoir…but didn’t.)

The last time (though I did not know it then) that I would see my mother…she had turned from our tepid goodbye (having decided not to wait around for my exit) and was bent over her suitcase, searching for a misplaced slipper. It was such an unremarkable finish…I have often thought in retrospect…though, somehow, befitting our perpetual knack for never quite managing to get on to the same page at the same time.

After she passed, wedged between her scrapbooks and photo albums, I found a book of John Lennon’s poetry and prose. Almost half a century earlier she had thumbed through a virtually identical volume of mine (that I had purchased with babysitting money) and remarked (prophetically, as it turned out): I don’t get you at all.

The last time…I was in my Mother’s home…the very last time ever…Among her things…that book…THAT book…I seized upon it with shaking hands… PROOF—she had tried to find her way back to the place that marked the first time…our differences found words.

Wendy Bourke lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, hangs out with family and friends and goes on long rambling walks gathering inspiration.  Her work has appeared in over 100 poetry anthologies and journals such as:  Firefly Magazine, riverbabble 31, and StepAway Magazine.