Wow. Twenty-one weeks. There seems to be some interest — although not much feedback — so, since it’s Wednesday, we’ll add to our story. The story thus far is on the blog under “Story.”
Here’s where we left off.
The crash and shrill comment awakened me from my nostalgic Neverland and brought back into reality. “Mom?” I cried out, at the same time realizing my hands were immersed mid-forearm in soapy water.
“I’m okay,” Mom said. “I just knocked over a table.”
Simultaneously, I cried out again, “Mom, are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” she repeated as I fumbled for a dish towel and headed into the living room.
There she was, on all fours on the floor, picking up 1,000 jigsaw pieces. I noticed a wet spot on her behind, shadowed by a dried, slightly larger stain. I went over and helped her scoop the pieces back into the box and right the table. Then, trying to be discreet and sympathetic as I helped her back to her feet, I said, “Mom, you must have spilled something. Let’s…”
“Or I pissed myself again,” she interrupted.
“Well, let’s get you cleaned up. Then I’ll make some tea, Okay?”
“Okay,” she said as she squeezed my hand and we made our way into the bedroom.
The bedroom. Now, Mom was never Mrs. Homemaker. Her forte was in the kitchen. But when I walked into her room, I was aghast. The bed wasn’t made, there were clothes thrown on it and the floor, drawers were half opened with clothes hanging out, shoes and slippers littered the floor. It looked more like … well, my room when I was a teenager.
As she started changing, I went into the bathroom. The hamper was overflowing, powder was all over the floor, the shower curtain liner was all bunched up with flecks of mold in the creases and the medicine chest was slid wide open.
When I got back to the kitchen to put water on for tea, I was overwhelmed by not only the dishes and glasses and cups I had washed and dried, but also with how many more still had to be done. Where did they come from?
It had been just a few weeks since I was home, visiting then burying Dad. I guess I was so wrapped up with him, I neglected to take notice of Mom. And in that moment, I remembered my last conversation with Dad.
“You have to promise me something, Sweetheart,” he said.
“Anything, Daddy,” I responded through tears. “You know that.”
“You have to take care of Mom.”
“No, I mean it,” he said sternly in a tone I rarely heard from him. “I know you and Mom don’t always get along, but she’s a good woman.”
“Well, I know,” I said.
“Believe it or not, you two are so much alike. But she is going to need you. Give her a chance and promise me you will take care of her.”
As Mom appeared in the kitchen and sat down at the dining room table, I hardly recognized her. How did she age so much in just a few weeks? What was going on?
There you go, readers. Where do we go from here?
All you have to do is put down your thoughts and get them to me. You can post your ideas as comments on the blog – but remember everyone will see them, so the “surprise” factor might get lost – or you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each Wednesday I will continue the story on the blog, along with that week’s attribution and periodically update Reveille/Between the Lakes readers. The complete story thus far is available on the blog under “Story.”
I hope we’re having some fun with this. Let me know what you think.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Contentment stifles progress. Dissatisfaction breeds success.