It's the Saturday morning fruit and
vegetable market in Berkeley, California.
There are trestle tables with artichokes,
bok choy, carrots, sugar cane, strawberries,
looking as though they would taste sweet, and a
stall selling organic sauerkraut.
It's not a big market, but there's a
kind of enthusiasm about it. The sight
of all this fruit and all these vegetables
makes me feel the sharpness of the distance
between me and my kitchen.
In my limited experience, when somebody dies
people have something to say about it.
That she was too young or he had a good innings,
or died well, or very hard. That
he was well liked, or she was always difficult
and nobody ever really and where were they anyway.
Bankstown, I like the sound of it. My Mum and Dad
grew up there, I was born there and we lived there for a while.
When my grandfather got sick, his last illness,
I went to see him. I took the train up from
Wollongong to Central, then out to Strathfield. Dad
picked me up from the station and we went to the new Bankstown hospital.
We could only see him one at a time. We walked along corridors
past the chapel, the wards, the waiting rooms.
He'd had a piece of his lung taken out and was
just coming out of the general anaesthetic,
the nurses yelling 'Wake up, Mr Smith,' the way they do it now,
but I couldn’t help whispering and
not wanting to disturb him. 'Wake up, Mr Smith,'
they said. They knew what they were doing
and I didn't have a clue.
Afterwards Dad and I went to Freedom Furniture
and followed the walkways looking at arrangements
of loungerooms and bedrooms
and indoor-outdoor areas.
We bought glasses with detachable handles
that could be used for tea and coffee, as well as cold drinks.
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