Stopping to regroup for a while, the child sits back down in front of the dryer, watching the clothes tumble gaily. The dryer isn’t full, so the clothes are able to frolic like colourful, happy children with no cares. She marvels at their ability to skip and roll. She can imagine them giggling and squealing as they play.
As Emily sits at her laptop, this memory is so vivid that she smiles. The shiny metal and chip free, cream paint on the dryers was such a contrast to the faded pink fabric on the seat near the door. Equally faded had been the parquetry patterned vinyl flooring, for several metres in from the entrance. She remembered a coolish day, yet she had felt wrapped in the warmth of the sun streaming in through the huge windows.
She swaps the fresh ultrasound for an older one, now far less pliable, and the image far less distinct. She can’t remember why she’d decided to keep it all those years ago. She felt her pain all over again.
The images take her back again to that day in the laundromat. Her pleading had been quite purposeful, she recalled – not those of a petulant child begging for lollies or toys. Her pleas were a search for meaning and understanding. At the time, her mother had been totally unable to give her an answer - her own pain much too raw. Her mother’s letters, found with the rest of her things, had finally explained it to Emily. She’d written that when you were suffering the deepest hurt in your entire life, you still had to somehow manage the mundane, day in, day out. For her that day, the laundromat had been torture.
Holding the older image up to the light, Emily has no trouble locating the sinister dark patch that had signalled a shortening of her mother’s young life. Reading the letters left by her mother, she realised how difficult it must have been, to tell your only child that you were leaving them for good. Her mother had struggled for the words, and a kind nurse had explained to Emily what was going to happen.
She puts down the older image and picks up the latest one. After looking at it for what seems like an age, she slowly places it back on the table and begins to type.
'My dearest (insert name). I’d like to tell you a little about your beautiful grandmother. She would have loved to be here with you now, sharing your growing up.' She ended the letter with: 'Be sure to savour every precious moment.'
Emily suddenly feels the sensation of a hand on her shoulder.