I am here to meet my mother-in-law for the first time. I stand atop a soft Scottish Hill and wait for her to beckon me. A freezing February wind makes its way under my scarf and a cold current runs from the base of my skull down the highway of my spine. I have been looking forward to meeting her for many years and neither the cold nor the eeariness of the place will deter me from being in her presence. The grass is frozen and makes a crackling noise, like burning twigs, as I walk to our meeting point. I step on someone's memories, I trip on someone's son, I stand casually above someone's first love. I am here to meet the mother of the man I love.
I find a spot on one side of the garden and wait for her. I know she is small and frail looking like a feverish little girl. I know she is thin and anything can blow her away unexpectedly: her children's laughter, Connie Francis, other people's pain, love, and the song A Whiter Shade of Pale. I know she is scattered here where many years ago her children offered her ashes to the wind.
A visitor left a bouquet of wild urchins on a bench. I devote my attention to one flower in particular. My husband's mother is now a lavender urchin.
"I would have loved you," I tell her.
A kinder breeze which seems to come all the way from the Gleniffer Braes brushes past my face. A caress maybe. I think it is her way to tell me, "I would have loved you too."