Her things are stored at my sister Judi’s and Judi brings an object or two at a time to make her feel more comfortable, she’s afraid. My mother is afraid and when the things from her past are put into her room she is glad and claps her old hands. If she remembers, which she sometimes does.
My face sags.
My face sags and I stare at my mother and at Judi. Judi laughs.
“That’s the silliest song,” my mother says when I say what the truth is, she’s had a stroke.
“You’ve told me before?”
She twirls her finger in the air, straight and pivoting on the bottom joint.
“I go round and around.”
Her voice is muffled now and her eyes widen, she keeps talking.
“Where is are where is are, where are we, where is where am, my, my, my—” She puts her hand to her temple. “It’s hot,” she says. She leans back into her chair. “It’s hot,” she says. “It’s hot and I’ve had another stroke.”
No. It is hot. We’re outside in the sun.
“No mom, you’re just hot. It’s just hot. It’s hot. I’m hot too.”
Judi looks at me and cringes. She pulls a red-brown ladies’ pump from her purse.
“See, mom?” she asks, holding up the pump. “See, mom? Do you remember what this is?”
My mother’s brow knits up. She nods. “It’s my old brown shoe. It’s my old brown shoe.” She holds her arms out her hands splayed and asking.
Judi puts the shoe in her hands. “Yes,” Judi says.
“And what’s inside?” Judi asks.
Mom looks confused. She brings the shoe closer and inspects it with her eyes. She turns it over. “Pennies,” she says, as they cascade down her lap.
“Mom,” I say, “I’m bored. You wanna see the nurse?” Mom shakes No. I signal for the nurse to come. Judi pats mom on the arm. “It’s for the best,” she says. Mom mouths “No”.
The nurse comes.
“Mom said she wanted to see the nurse,” I say. The nurse smiles.
“What a sweet old song,” she says, looking down. Mom shakes her head.
“Bye mom,” I say.
“Bye mom,” says Judi.
Mom shakes her head. She looks confused. She gets wheeled away. We leave and go home.