Sunday, December 11, 2005
The Blackout
She sat at the head of the table beneath a halo of gray. Her cigarette hovered over the ashtray and her eyes stared past me down the length of the table to the china cabinet that was stacked with various mismatched Tupperware containers. She was lost to me.

I'd been warned that she was having episodes. They told me that sometimes she'd slip in and out for a minute or two and then be back to herself. And so, I sat quietly and waited. I strained in vain to hear crickets over the rattling hum of the air conditioner. I followed the movement of her cigarette smoke, still swirling from her fingertips. I picked up an old newspaper and skimmed the headlines. Finally, I whispered Kara? and stared at her face. It remained dull.

She was really gone.

I carefully reached to pluck the ash-tipped stick from her fingers. Her hand fell limp to the table, as though by removing the cigarette I had snipped her marionette strings.

Her son's girlfriend, Nora, appeared in the doorway, wearing a thin tee shirt and loose sweatpants. Her chest pushed out while she tied her hair back in a messy ponytail. Oh, God, did she go out again? she asked, leaning down to the table and waving a hand in front of Kara's eyes. I'll go get Josh.

She returned with my cousin and the pair lifted my aunt from her wheelchair and carried her limp body to her bed. It was effortless and routine. These blackouts had been happening more and more frequently.

No burns this time, Josh said as they emerged from her bedroom. Kara's legs were scarred with cigarette burns; she didn't always hold on to her butts. Oh, she'll be fine; he touched my shoulder as he passed.

Nora slipped by us into the kitchen. I heard the clinking of jars as she swung the refrigerator door wide and bent forward.
Coke?

I stared at the scuffed up linoleum; embarrassed that I hadn't even stood from my chair to help them move her. And I felt oddly guilty for not saying I love you, before she slipped into her black hole.

Don't worry about it, she'll be fine in the morning, Nora reached around me with a can of Coke. She won't even remember what happened.

I nodded slowly. But I would.

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6 Comments:

Blogger mreddie said...

You drew the word picture well. I even sensed your loneliness when you realized you were alone even though the other person was still there. And Yes, those are the sad things that we don't forget. ec

Blogger LJ said...

God, Mella. I know how it is. And you don't forget. But when she told she wanted to paper the room with those old photos - she gave you something precious that you won't forget either.
Sending you love.

Blogger wilde_thought said...

I just discovered you and I'll definitely be back.

Blogger claudio said...

I like, i like and i like this blogs. From the end of the world i always read your story, Claudio.

http://bajosur.blogspot.com/

Blogger LDahl said...

I just want to say, that I was here... lost in this world of yours for ...how long? I don't know, I lost track of even what season it is, let alone the time. I want this to be a book I can curl up with... I want it to turn page after page........

Blogger Mella said...

Wow. Thank you, very much.

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