Heather - What Shall I Do Next?

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A gnarled hand, a knitted blue cap, A sky blue shawl held close. The slight, girlish voice asks, ‘What shall I do next?’

What was her life, this figure with a shawl? Did she dance the tarantella; play the harp; See Easter Island. Live in Zimbabwe; Be outraged by injustice?

Now she wanders. A grandson visits, ‘Heather’ he calls her. Heather, light and ephemeral.

The green eyes are bright, They see but the focus is opaque. ‘Duncan’, she calls. Yes, I knew Duncan. Where is he now?

Was Duncan the Mr Darcy of her life? Or the gardener, so young and virile, Longing, lusting, leaving? She weeps, ‘What Shall I do Now?’

‘She talks nonsense’ says a fellow diner. ‘Ignore her’. Heather stands before us broken and hollow. ‘Eat’ he grunts. ‘Sit down and eat’. ‘Is that What I do Next?’ she recites.

A pink chiffon gown, bare shoulders, Jerome Kern’s ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ Playing as she enters the ballroom. Happiness in her heyday. Loving life. Preparing for what happens next.

A home in Parramatta. Children, boys strong like Samson. A husband who grew weary of routine. Thereafter, a garden; an affair. Life grinding quickly away. Too quickly.

I fell not far from home. Never went there again. ‘Can’t look after herself’, They screamed in unison. My boys. I screamed too. Why didn’t they hear?

The little girl voice now trapped. The past just a series of sepia slides that smash Flailingly or falteringly on her psyche. Wait! Wait! Silence. ‘Tell Me What To Do Next?’ she whispers.


Diana, 2014