WOT ABOUT SCRIPTS
This is a collage of expressing the randomness of life. It hardy matters if what we see, think or feel is factual or fictitious or surreal. Is it a descriptive memoir or a descriptive scene of a movie?
At 98-years old, my mother appears much younger than other senior women in the care home. Tonight, she looks particularly tired, perhaps a bit worn out and I suspect that the newly installed air-conditioning in the facility is keeping a chill in everyone including my mother and I. It’s darn cold. The thermostat on the wall is digitized at 70-degrees.
It’s dinner time in the care home.
I politely ask if she would like to try another spoonful of sliced miniature meatballs smothered in brown gravy.
By now, the untouched white mound of mash potato appears like a high mountain with deep vertical ravines down its side. Sometimes when dinner time isn’t productive, meaning my mother isn’t hungry, I idle the time away using the tines of the fork to put the green peas on top of the white mountain. It looks like a green forest on top of the mountain. Sometimes, enough time passes by, and she might be hungry for another mouthful.
“No,” she says, “I don’t want anymore. I’m not hungry.”
“Alright. How about some fruit?” I ask, poking at the square pieces of small mixed fruit in the round cup. I motion the spoon with a couple of pieces in front of her. “Try?”
She does, grimacing a little. “It’s sour!”
“Sour.” I nod affirmatively, now offering a warm cup of tea. “Try balancing it off with some warm tea.”
“Are you cold?” I ask, reaching for her hands. “Your hands are Icy cold”.
She agrees. She’s cold. I wrap the cotton towel over her shoulders and front arms.
“Where’s mama?” she suddenly asks inquisitively, “Where’s mama? Is she alright?”
“Mama? Do you mean MY mama? I ask.
“Your mama??” she laughs with a smile.
“My mama is you!” I smile back, “You’re my mama! And you’re all right!”
She smiles for a moment, and then the expression of humor melts into an expression of loss. Despair.
My heart sank.
She pauses. Looking out the window now. Distant. Searching. Grappling.
“How’s my mama doing?” she asks peering out of the window. “How is she doing? Is she okay?”
I pause in silence. That familiar knot in my throat tightens its grip. Months ago, I evaded the entire question by saying Mama is fine. Mama is okay.
Tonight, it’s different. My mother really wants to know how her mother is doing. The knot gets tighter.
“Your mama…your mama isn’t here anymore,” I struggle to reveal. “She’s gone Mom.”
My mother looks at me, “she died?”
“Yes, Mom,” I’m half-way gazing at her eyes, “your mama died a long time ago. She lived a very long life. She lived a healthy and long life, just like you Mom!”
The truth always seems to hurt even if we know the loss is so expected.
“Noo, I can’t believe that,” my mother says with lips trembling, “I can’t believe that mama died. No one told me?”
“It was a long time ago Mom,” I reply, “We told you. We all were told. We all were at the funeral. But…but it was a long time ago. You don’t remember. It was long ago.”
“….and papa too?” she asks so gently. “Did papa die?”
“Papa a few years before that,” I struggle to say.
“I cannot believe papa died too,” she seems to want to cry, like I remember she did at her father’s and then years later, at her mother’s funeral.
“And mama too.” she says seeking some sense of verification, “I cannot believe they both died.”
“I didn’t know!” she says.
“We all were at the funeral Mom. But It was a long time ago. Time passes so quickly. We forget sometimes.”
She looks faraway. I look at her eyes and trace her line of sight from the valley all the way to the sliver of the ocean where it meets the horizon. I ponder, is that faraway look the distance between miles, or the distance between markers of time past in her memory? How can we reconnect to the past which seems fragmented or lost?
“Mom, time just flies. It was a long time ago. We used to visit them and give them flowers at the cemetery. You were so happy to visit mama and papa.”
I hold her hands. They’re icy cold.
“You’re hands ARE cold!” I place her hands on my warm forearm. “Keep your hands right here and warm them up.”
For a moment, my mother looks at her hands on my forearm. I place my warm hand over her hands.
“Keep them here for awhile,” I said, “We’re finished dinner. Maybe, we can go back to your room where it is warmer.”
“My room is warmer,” she replies.
I release the brakes of the wheelchair, and we head for her room.
“It’ll be warmer in your room Mom. It’ll be more comfortable there.”
She nods. “My room is warmer.”
It’s time to head home.