Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Last Visit


The last good visit with Mum.  We sat together in the morning and we did not have lunch, which I regret.  Rosemary, our favorite PCA, told me Mum needed some things, so I left her to go shopping and returned after she had lunch and before her nap.  I brought her clothes and magazines and a puzzle and we looked at pictures of flowers and gardens and we were happy.

It is not the last time that I will see her, but it will be our last good time together.  This visit is our parting of ways.  I know she is not doing well and I don’t know.  I think that she will die in June.  I am wrong.  She will die in thirty-six days on Holy Saturday.  Four days short of forty.  Maybe this is my personal Lent and I should do something or refrain from doing something.  My Lent, like your Lent, has death; but, your Lent, unlike my Lent, ends with a resurrection. 

This gets me to thinking.  Had Mum risen from her death bed, or had the funeral home called three days later (Your Mother is up.  Come get her, please.) that would have presented a problem or two.  Where would I have taken Resurrected Mum?  St. Catherine's won’t have her back.  They don’t stand for this sort of thing in nursing homes, not even Catholic ones.  Dad will have her, but she will not be able to manage the stairs in the house.  The place she lived before already said that her condition was beyond them.  Add resurrection to the mix and it really becomes difficult.  And, a resurrected person sets a bad example.  You don’t want to put ideas in people’s heads that this sort of behavior is acceptable.  I am not sure if Mum will keep this quiet, although she is good at keeping secrets.  You can tell her anything and she keeps it to herself.  I try to model myself on her in that respect, and many others.  But I draw the line at resurrection.  (Actually, the line is drawn somewhere around ironing bed sheets.) 

Resurrected Mum will live with us.  I am not sure how my husband will take the news.  He might have questions.  How many times is she going to do this?  Do we have to file a tax return for her?  Is this genetic?  All reasonable questions.  The answer is: I don’t know.  Not a reasonable answer.

She can have the guest room.  I doubt anyone will stay with us ever again, so it’s not a problem.  I will hang her clothes in the closet and arrange them by color, like I did before.  I will buy her shoes and slippers because intuition tells me that your shoe size changes when you rise from the dead.  She won’t have a driver’s license, so I will drive her places.  We can make our Saturday trips to the library again.  Watch Julia Child in the afternoon.  Have tea and muffins and gossip (while not telling secrets) about whoknowswhat.

Yes, Resurrected Mum will live with me.  And I will find a way to make my family happy with this arrangement because I would really like this.

I would really like to have her back.

I want her back.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Morning in Kenmore Square



It is the day after the marathon, the city’s pagan holiday.  The city is united and everyone is Greek.  I don’t live here anymore, haven’t for years.  It’s not the city I knew.  Too many rich people, the moving breathing proof that money can’t buy taste.  But I work here, so here I am the morning after, and the city is saintly in its endorphinic hangover. 

I ride the train to Kenmore Square.  A man is distributing flyers.  People pass him on their way to work or school or love.  I am in no rush.  I slow down.  It’s his job, after all, and it can’t be much fun for people to run past you all day.  He sees me, but he does not offer me a flyer.  Whatever he’s selling, it’s not for me.  Very well, then.  In the basement coffee shop I greet the ladies behind the counter.  How many mornings have we met?  No idea.  The coffee is strong and hot and the music is funky.  A long blond willow takes her time to fix her iced coffee.  No rush, dearie, but please don’t flip your hair into my cup.  She moves on and I have space to pour the cream and pick gold floss from my sleeve. 


Back on terra firma.  Three doors down, two young men come out of Dunkin’ Donuts.  A bum asks for change.  They have none, but they give him a donut.  As they walk in quiet and friendly conversation, one of the young men, the one with dark curly hair, breaks a chocolate donut into pieces to eat it.  A breeze transmits the cocoa scent. For a moment I think I want a chocolate donut, too.  But I don’t.  Donuts are not what they used to be.  When I was a child, we went to Worcester on Saturday morning and the smell of fresh donuts, bright happiness of a treat soon to come, met us at the traffic light.  Now the donuts are made in a commissary kitchen godknowswhere.  Could look it up online, but don’t care to know.  I don’t want the chocolate donut the boy is eating, for he is a boy to my eyes.  I want to be the boy with the chocolate donut.  The boy of light limbs, crystalline skin, carefree gait.  No.  This morning, this is his city and his donut and his sidewalk and his loving companion.  I am the shade passing through.