Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Beautiful Day
To hear her describe it, her apartment is a pit with cracks and stains, with booby-traps for women in wheelchairs, and is maintained by evil people who hate the disabled. The sunlight is too hot. The view is too much sky, not enough city. The new cabinet sink they installed in the bathroom is too small, and there's a space between it and the floor that looks craggy and will probably be her downfall, somehow. Somehow.

When we arrive, she's sitting on the floor, holding her granddaughter's tiny feet in one hand and changing her diaper. Her husband is locked in his bedroom. Sulking, she says, her eyes roll.

My mother and I slide the bags of groceries to the cluttered tabletop. I let The Boss down; he immediately toddles to the half-naked baby on the floor to inspect.

He then turns his attention to my aunt and flashes a toothy grin, pointing at his reflection in her glasses.

We're here to deliver food from the food pantry and relief in the form of our company. My mother puts away the groceries, I pull The Boss up from the floor so that his cousin can get her post-diaper change bearings. She's thin and long, with delicate features and dainty fingers - the opposite of The Boss in every way.

My aunt sighs as she pulls herself across the floor and up into her chair. Defeated from a morning of babysitting, both her grandchild and her husband. Defeated from fifteen years of living in pain.

But then she smiles at the babies as they introduce each other, as they do each time they meet, eyes locking, bodies rocking back and forth, each waiting for the other to make the first move.

The Boss reaches forward and pokes her cheek. There, done. Now we can play.

My aunt laughs at the exchange, shaking her head, it's so easy for them.

My mother pulls a story of mine from the grocery bag. It's The Eulogy that I wrote last month. I brought it for my aunt to read, as a momentary distraction.

You know, I used to write. She says with a brown-toothed smile. And for the next five minutes, she talks about that. Writing. Poetry. Awards she won. The fun she had creating characters, plots, worlds outside of her own.

The teakettle whistles and my mother moves to the kitchen, leaving my aunt and I alone with the babies in her small living room. We sit quietly, listening to the sounds of plates and cups moving on the other side of the wall, until at last she speaks softly and to no one in particular.

Looks like it's a beautiful day.



Blogger Neo said...

Mella - I always love hearing older people tell their stories of their dreams. It's a bit sad to listen to sometimes, because you know they always wonder what if.

Hopefully the rest of us acheive those dreams without getting lost.

Peace & Hugs,

- Neo

Blogger Aleida said...

Nice post.:) I used to love it when my Grandmother would go on for hours. I think I never got sick of the same stories over and over because she always told them as if she were remembering them for the first time.

Blogger mreddie said...

The young ones do have a way of meeting and getting along - what lessons we could learn. ec

Blogger LJ said...

It's painful to read about her, imagine her life. But some of the best pieces you've done, like this one, are about her.

Blogger Mella said...

Thank you everyone. MrEddieSo true. I learn from my son every day.

LJ Thank you. She and I share a strong bond that often goes unspoken. A decade ago, before she lost her house and life took several cruel twists, her sons were like brothers to me, and she a second-mother.

I think I feel compelled to write about her to give her a voice. To let her say "I'm still here." Because I feel so desperately that she wants to shout it from the rooftops, but can't.

Blogger ForestGump said...

Hi i think u write good. keep doing so.

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