[Writing group prompt: write about what you last wrote about…]
“Happy Birthday Son” headlined the card in golden capitals. Inside, my mother had written that it was a privilege to be my parent, and that I should “have fun in DJs” with the gift vouchers enclosed – “maybe a couple of scarves?” Writing back to this meant a trip to the department store to make a choice that would read well via text.
I traced the escalator up and up, testing objects against the text message. Towels? Too quotidian. Dressing gown? Overpriced, even on sale. A couple of scarves? My absent mother hovered too dogmatically, and they were in men’s colours. I reached the top floor, reserved for fragile things, and found an amber vase. Photogenic, and five dollars over the price of the vouchers. I handed over ten and got change.
At home I filled it with cheap flowers, then texted Mum and Dad with a snapshot. It was a provocation, like everything else. I tweeted it, too, as a follow-up to an earlier question to which nobody had replied. I also sent it to Julien, en-route from Singapore. On Facebook the image was liked by three or four women before my mother replied. She loved the vase, and saw it as appropriate for Julien’s return, although he never said anything.
I sat down with a novel – Doctor Faustus – rotating the vase so that it displayed well from my couch.