*Names have been changed.
Sometimes, I miss elements of my life back in Hobart. Most of these being things I took for granted at the time. Like, the odd delivery afternoon working at my dad’s pharmacy.
As part of this service, I took medications to those who were unable to collect them from the pharmacy. Over the time I delivered, I experienced many heart-felt moments.
For instance, I used to visit a lady who always tucked her stuffed-animals under a blanket in her living room on those cold winter days. I remember trying to hide a smirk the first time I saw them.
“Teddies are a bit cold, are they?” I asked, careful to keep the humour out of my tone.
To this she quickly hurried to where teddies were and wrapped the blanket firmly around them.
“Oh yes, it’s very cold for them at this time of year.”
I was then introduced to each of them, to which I smiled politely and greeted them all. I may have thought it seemed a bit strange, but it also tugged at my heart-strings. I wasn’t so different back in the day when Doggy (my dear old friend of 23 years) used to accompany me downstairs to watch Home and Away. In fact he did that until quite recently – so, really, I wasn’t much different at all.
I liked this lady. She was always laughing or smiling. On each visit she would ask me if we were friends, to which I would reply “of course we are.”
Some days she would duck out of the room and return with boxes of old photos, showing me twenty years worth of memories. I watched as her face transformed from that of a young woman to an older lady. She still had those youthful sparkling blue eyes.
As I left, she watched me from her front door. She waited until I did up my seat-belt, checked my phone and analysed my road map. I could still see her waving at me through the rear-vision mirror when I was halfway up the road.
Maybe I’m sentimental but I miss that lady, the way she’d chat away to me about nothing in particular. I even miss the old-person scent of her house.
Then, there was Mr Sheppard. My favourite – if I’m allowed to have one. When I arrived carrying my trusty delivery basket he would be pottering out in the garden, pulling away at roots and tenderly talking to his much loved tomatoes. He would ask me inside the house, and dig around in his pantry until he surfaced with a pot of tomato chutney for me. Made especially by him.
“Now love, this one has been made with green tomatoes. Just give it a taste and tell me what you think.”
I’d proceed to taste several different varieties from salty to sweet. This was part of my weekly routine. Mr Sheppard would tell me how important it was to have something and, what he had was gardening. He loved his tomatoes. As did I. I liked the way he leaned back in his chair, his face creased with happiness as he spoke of his gardening.
“I don’t have much family, you could be like my adopted granddaughter.”
When he said this to me, I melted inside. I wanted to give him a bear-sized adopted granddaughter hug. When I moved here, I chickened out of telling him I was leaving. I couldn’t face the possibility of not being in his small room again. Of not talking about his tomatoes. Every time I left his house, he would hand me several tomatoes from his garden, some lollies from his cluttered living room table and a small Cadbury’s chocolate.
Sometimes when I visited these people I felt like I was the best version of myself. It made me happy to sit, talking about everything and nothing. I enjoyed listening to how proud these people were of their families. It reminded me of the simple pleasures in life.
And so, it’s these kinds of things I miss. The things and people that seemed like part of the everyday flow of life. Those things that are now absent.