“Sometimes wrong numbers are the right numbers.” ~ Cecelia Ahern, The Time of My Life
Late yesterday afternoon I tried to call my sister. My new drugs are kicking in and so my eyes were all twitchy and I was having problems seeing. Somehow I put in one wrong digit.
“Hello?” An older woman’s voice, surprised, answered the phone.
“Mum?” I said. I’d been expecting Simone. What was Mum doing there? Was it even Mum? It had to be Mum… Trying to place the voice against the background noise of a blaring television I tried again. “Hello? Mum, is that you? Can you hear me? It’s Nicole. “
There was a pause, and then the woman spoke again. “That’s a beautiful name, darling. Nicole did you say? That’s French isn’t it?”
By now I had worked out that this definitely wasn’t my mum on the other end of the line, but something made me keep talking.
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, you can call me Mum, sweetheart,” the old lady said. “I’d like that very much.” She asked where I was calling from, and I explained that I was here in Brisbane for a few days but that I normally lived on a farm.
Well, ‘Mum’ was away! Telling me all about her days growing up on a farm on the outskirts of Toowoomba, and then later the animals she kept at her little house in Brisbane after she married and when her children were growing up. She’d had ducks and chickens and a lovely big vegetable garden, right here at Mount Gravatt. Of course as she’d gotten older she’d had to let all that go…
“Ducks,” I said. “Good eggs, duck eggs. Great for cooking.”
“Oh, do you like to cook?” she asked.
We chatted for a few more minutes, and she told me about her son who had gone off to fight in Vietnam and who came home and tore the chook shed down after his father’s home brew kit, kept in a lean-to beside the shed, had exploded one hot summer’s night and scared the life out of them all.
Eventually I excused myself and hung up so that I could call my sister.
Just before I went to bed last night my phone rang. It was still early so I answered it, thinking the number was my sister’s.
“Hello, Nicky,” the voice said, “it’s Mum again. I have my own Mum’s recipe here for Duck Egg Sponge. I knew I had it somewhere, and I thought you’d like to have it. She cleaned up at the Show every year with that sponge. You can probably get duck eggs down at your farm so maybe you could give it a go.”
I carefully wrote down the ingredients and instructions.
“Are you okay, love?” she asked as I began coughing violently – a side effect of the evening’s drugs.
I waited for a wave of nausea to pass and then briefly explained that I was unwell and starting on new medications which made me feel sick.
“How about I call you in a day or so?” Mum asked. “Just to see how you’re getting along. Would that be okay? You know I’ll worry about you if I don’t. And don’t you go making that sponge cake yet. You should really be having a shower and hopping into bed. Go on then, off you go. Sleep well, Nicky love. And I’ll ask Saint Peregrine to watch over you. And Raphael too. He’s my favourite Angel. I’m a lapsed Catholic dear, but I’m still very fond of some of their Saints and Angels.”
I just love the synchronicities and everyday miracles of this life, don’t you?
We are, all of us, so very much loved, and connected in magical ways we’ll never quite understand while we’re down here living out our days.