There are a thousand tastes, so many years and meals and memories. But if I had to settle on one, I would have to say croissants. Buttery and flakey and straight out of the oven. The pastry made the night before, then up at 6am to form it into it’s perfect little crescents, ready to rise then finish baking just before we arrive for morning tea.
“Who makes their own croissants?” My husband asks. “My Mother.” I answer with a grin. Mum who plans and kneads and crisps her love into every meal she offers.
Lady Grey tea. Not that she drinks it, she prefers the smokiness of Russian Caravan. It is me who loves the bergamot with a hint of citrus. But I associate it with her, because whether it is home or on a family holiday, she never forgets to make some for me.
One day she arrived just as I hit my peak state of panic, overwhelmed with one hundred jobs and no clue where was the logical place to start.
“I’ll make you a cuppa.”
“I don’t have time.”
“Sit down. Have a cup of tea. It will help. Trust me.”
And I do. So we sit, two steaming cups between us, and as we talk the mountain becomes a hill and the impossible is possible once again.
This is the hardest one to narrow down, but I think it is the brush of a warm scarf around my neck. Mum aways carries a folded scarf in her bag just in case, and I’ve lost count of the times that she has pulled it out when I have once again mis-diagnosed the Melbourne weather. Nice to go out in the cold with someone who is always prepared, when your mind is permanently positioned in another realm.
When I was in hospital, ill and trapped and wondering when my tiny twins would enter the world, Mum would visit. She brought along a half knitted scarf, and as we sat and talked she would work her way along another row. Now it sits on my shoulders on the coldest days of the year, a happy memory from one of the hardest times of my life.
Music. No one song. Hundreds of songs. Ones that played on the CD player while we cleaned the kitchen in-between our dance steps. Breaking into song half way through a sentence when we recognise a line from a song. Even my son’s singing, because he is like his beloved Grandma, a sponge absorbing every tune he hears.
Red. Bright, exuberant red. For both of us. Not just because it suits our identical colouring, but because it is us. Enthusiastic, optimistic and occasionally a bit too loud. Like Mother like daughter.
But there is a sixth sense. Not telepathy. A feeling. An emotion. A sense that comes when I see her smile or when I hear her voice on a phone.