Down Main Street, there is a convenience store. In the warmer months, the cooler in there is brimming with tubs of ice cream. So many colours, so many flavours. I’m partial to chocolate peanut butter, especially if I can score some big chunks of yumminess. Next door might be a tub of rum raisin (which, according to my extreme bias, is absolutely revolting). There’s probably twelve tubs, glowing in their differentness from each other.
Further down the main drag is the village’s coffee shop, complete with a horseshoe-shaped lunch counter. The wraparound is usually populated by men. The female regulars prefer a nearby table.
One local guy stopped coming to the diner a few weeks ago. Rumours abound, but in any event he just doesn’t come by anymore for a coffee. I miss him. At times he’s ornery and stubborn but he’s also very intelligent, with opinions that often get me thinking.
A far quieter regular died last year. He was a gentle soul who quietly ate his breakfast, usually responding to neighbours like me with very few words and a gentle smile.
At the other end of the restaurant, near the bulletin board, two women often sat together for conversation. Now it’s just one woman. Her friend also died recently, taking a twinkle of the eye to another realm.
Then there’s the Grade 5/6 class – 24 children. On the days when only 23 seats are occupied, there is a gap. Whether it’s a bouncing kid or mostly a silent one, there is a loss, a missing piece. For four days last week, I was sick and missing. On Friday, I sensed that some kids felt it important that I was back.
It’s when your absence leaves a vacuum
that people miss you
Unforgettable is about creating your own space
a space that would be left bare
in your absence
Nesta Jojoe Erskine