My mom lives in a flat in a complex across from a woman in her early sixties called June. I’m terrible in the way that I’ll get a mental block in my head about someone’s name and almost always fuck it up and that’s what it’s like with June.
I always want to call June Jude and once or twice I think I might have. Other times I make this sound which is an amalgamation of both words, Juned, and I say the last part really quickly and hope for the best.
I have another buddy, well technically I guess he’s the buddy of a buddy, whose name I think is Josh. Problem is he looks nothing like a Josh and every time I run into him my brain starts doing a whole bunch of intense computations about this dude’s name, and then promptly shuts down.
Josh is the last name you’d want to call someone if that’s not their name, so every time I see this guy I just default to ‘Hey man!/bro!/dude!’ and he greets me back with my name and I know all he’s thinking is, ‘Fuck me! Five years and this prick still doesn’t remember my name.’ Awkward.
So anyway, June came over to my mom’s house while we were eating supper last night because she’d heard about this whiskey I’d taken for my mom to taste, Red Breast (BEST single grain pot stilled Irish whiskey you’ll ever taste, and that is a FACT).
June knows a thing or two about whisky and the second she tasted this stuff she was hooked. She did that thing that older people do when they’re tasting something good, where they close their eyes and this look of calm washes over them and they smile and nod their head slowly.
I poured her two glasses, she loved the stuff so much. Then she joined us for dessert, which she also really enjoyed. I haven’t seen June for a long time, but she was looking good, even my mom said June was looking good yesterday.
I laughed my ass off because the two of them went grocery shopping the other day after June had seen the doctor and been given a massive shot of morphine. My mom had mentioned something about it, said they’d gone shopping for groceries, but ‘June wasn’t feeling too well’ and so my mom left June sitting in the coffee shop at Woolworths while my mom finished up the shopping.
Well turns out June was feeling fine, in fact she was feeling better than fine, she was tripping balls! She was seeing colours she had never seen before and thinking some pretty intense thoughts about the universe and other really cool stuff too.
Unlike me, my mom doesn’t have much experience with dealing with people whos faces are melting off. I knew a guy who boiled down a san pedro cactus back in varsity in an attempt to make his own mescaline. He reckoned he had pretty much nailed it, and drank a teacup full of the stuff to test its strength.
Next thing we knew, he was walking around the digs with his underpants on his head, licking various surfaces and giggling uncontrollably.
Not long after that he climbed into bed on our advice and hid under the sheets for the next 17 hours whispering to no one.
Haha, good times
I told June next time she wants to rock out she should rather go shopping with me and not my mom. She laughed. My mom asked me what I thought about the beanie my mom had knitted for June, the one June was wearing and I said it looked pretty rad.
June told me about all the beanies my mom has knitted for her and I was really surprised to find out there’s been at least six or seven so far. It got me thinking because I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to knit a beanie (I sure as hell haven’t) but it must take fucking ages.
June has cancer in her lymph nodes, she was diagnosed with it about three months ago. The doctors aren’t happy about how it’s spread and the chemo isn’t making it better.
My mom knits for June because she thinks about June all the time and wants so badly to make her friend better. Knitting June beanies is a small thing, but June loves them, she appreciates the effort and they keep her head warm.
So I felt really good sharing that Red Breast whisky with June last night, watching her enjoy it the way she did, her eyes closed and that smile on her face.
I’ll take the bottle back next time I visit, I’d rather finish it with June than drink it all myself.