Friday, July 30, 2010

The Empress' Clothing

My writing fell by the wayside this week as I spent my time saying goodbye to a friend.

It wasn't as 'cut and dried' as the goodbye one would spit out at the end of a casual phone conversation but that final kind...the one that takes days to pour out and pulls your thoughts from the here and now into the " I remember when..."

I was twelve when I attended my first funeral. I skipped school with my best friend at the time, Jessie, and we attended the service held for Mrs. Poon.

Mrs. Poon, together with her husband, ran the neighbourhood corner store and any of us kids who spent more time than money hovering over the candy section would soon realize she had eyes in the back of her head.

We had difficulty understanding everything Mrs. Poon said at times because she came from somewhere else. There wasn't a day (until the end) that we didn't see her sitting high on her stool behind the confection counter. She always greeted us; she would smile, and we liked her.

My last memory of Mrs. Poon never seems right. I am looking down at her instead of the other way around. She isn't wearing the indiscriminate relaxed clothing we came to associate her with. Instead she wears a formal, iridescent turquoise gown. It is the most beautiful blue-green I can ever recall seeing and the way it shimmers reminds me of the way sunlight must sparkle on faraway oceans, in tropical lands - lands that remind me that Mrs. Poon comes from somewhere very far away, somewhere picturesque and serene, lands in stunning contrast to the neighbourhood where the two of us have come to spend some brief time together.

When I think of Mrs. Poon to this day (and I do still think of her), I think of her dressed as a queen. I think of her embarking on a majestic voyage, returning home perhaps, to family and friends who have been eager to embrace her and to know all there is to know about the foreign land she visited.

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