The faded pink suitcase sat in the hall waiting patiently for its owner.
‘It’s about time you got a new one, isn’t it?’ Lena had remarked, when her mother had arrived a week before.
‘I don’t travel that much,’ she said. ‘Besides, I like it. It’s old, like me.’
Now the two women were sitting in the kitchen with the cold pot of tea between them.
‘Will I make another pot?’ asked Lena.
‘Not unless you want another,’ replied her mum. ‘If I have any more to drink I will spend the whole journey in the toilet.’
‘I always hate these evening flights,’ said Lena. ‘You spend all day waiting to leave, so they somehow cheat you of the last day.’
She thought of her own tickets, ready to be used in a couple of days’ time.
‘Thanks for coming to see me mum,’ she said.
‘Well why on earth wouldn’t I?’ Her mum replied. ‘It is not everyday that my only daughter sets off to see the world.’
‘Well, hardly the world. It’s just Canada.’
‘It will be another world, alright. I envy you – new people to meet. It will be exciting.’ Her mum went to clear the tea things away.
‘I am worried about leaving you.’
‘What for?’ Her mother replied, dropping the cups into the sink of water, ‘I got on perfectly OK for years before you came along you know.’
‘Yeah I know,’ said Lena, ‘but with dad gone now it is different.’
‘Yes it is different,’ her mum admitted, ‘I get to watch what ever TV channel I please.’
‘Do you miss him?’ She asked.
‘Never during the day,’ said her mum, sitting down again. ‘I have him in my head the whole time and I chat to him, you know. After forty years of marriage you get to know the answer to the questions.’
Lena looked around her rented flat that had been her home for the last two years.
‘I may even miss this tiny damp flat.’
‘I am sure there is another tiny damp flat with your name on it somewhere,’ her mother said, ‘and you know, places don’t change as quickly as people do. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back.’
‘I know,’ said Lena ‘It’s just that it is so far away. Right now, if I had to, I could be with you in a matter of hours, but Canada is miles away. I can change my ticket. I don’t have to go if you want me to stay.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ said her mother, ‘What is the difference how far you are away from me? If my time is up, it is up. You could be in the room downstairs and it would not make the slightest bit of difference.’
Lena stared at her mum’s face. The face that hers would become in a few years’ time.
A horn sounded outside in the road.
‘That’ll be your taxi,’ said Lena. ‘Come on, I’ll help you with your case.’
‘Yes,’ said her mother. ‘Time to go.’