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It’s been an year since she left, my Luci. One year and two days to be precise. It seems so much longer though since I saw her last, dragging herself upstairs because I had gone up. “Why couldn’t you stay put, Luci?” I remember asking her in dismay, “I would have been downstairs in a minute!”

I had only gone to the bedroom upstairs to get a book or something. I have forgotten now. Those are not the things I remember from the day. The memories are of her manoeuvring the steps with difficulty just so she could be with me. Also how she wagged her tail and ‘smiled’ even though she was unwell.

Not a day has passed since she left that I have not gone through the many ‘what if’ scenarios. What ifs are my speciality.

What if she were here with me? Which part of the kitchen would be her favourite spot? What if she saw me clicking the parrots? I can imagine the concentration on her face, trying to identify the objects mom was focussed on. Once identified, she’d begin barking. ‘No, you don’t get to take my mom’s attention away from me!’ Or, I sometimes wonder, is it her way of telling me, ‘Mom, look! Another of those thingamabobs that interest you. Over there, on that branch. Go and do your thing with that contraption you carry around your neck!

I imagine how she would stand next to me on the balcony. She’d be sure to bark at those that didn’t meet her approval. Especially the gardener. Perhaps she felt he wasn’t doing his job well. Had he watered the plants just right? Why was he trimming that tree over there? No, no, no. Leave it alone, she would say. As for the children running around and playing, she would have plenty to say to them like a much harried and too strict grandma. Stop hollering, you pipsqueaks. Keep it down. And stop the dashing around. You will hurt yourself. Sit down somewhere and play some quiet game! I can just hear her disapproving snorts of disgust. Kids these days.

I can go on and on… suffice to say that each of my imagined scenarios puts a smile on my face. Also that feeling of shocked realisation, that she is not around, she will never be. I suppose they both are inextricably intertwined and inseparable. But that’s okay. Now I am at least smiling at her memories. So much was the ache last year this time that I never thought this was possible. Love you, Luci.

© Shail Mohan 2022