Friday, December 12, 2008
Early one morning
She looked up at the cracks on the wall. It was a mirror. Her reflection was sometimes hard to see. So many wrinkles, so many spots replaced a once clear, smooth, dark skin. All these creases in her body and face represented a story. The lines around her mouth were heartbreak. The bags under her brown eyes were regret and loss. The deep crevices on her forehead were worry.
She didn't care for any of them. Her jet black hair continued to thin, the skin on her hands continued to reveal more veins and arteries. Walking over four blocks she would be out of breathe.
As she was drying herself after a long shower she paused in between her legs. That part of her body had been dormant for so long. Delicately tracing the folds of her skin with the yolk of her fingers she tried to remember...remember
the last time she had been touched...
the last time she had been fucked...
the last time she had been loved....
She had ceased being a sexual being long before her body had. Only ashes remain where the flames of any passion could ignite. So be it.
Several years ago with every puff of her Malboro Lights she fantasized about how wonderful it would be to go to sleep and never wake up. She was just fed up. Didn't care for anything or anyone.
Sometime between then and now something shifted. Despite feeling tired most of the time she was able to find a reason to keep going. After her divorce she never remarried and never had children. A retired teacher, she had lost contact with most of her students. Just like her nieces and nephews they had all moved away and created new lives far away from her classroom. She was but a vague memory that would only surface when turning the pages of old pictures and yearbooks.
Despite all this she had begun to take pleasure in simple things. The crisp air as she stepped out of the house in the morning. The bitter taste of her instant coffee. The giggles of her youngest niece when she would visit.
She was excited again.
Being at an elderly age gave her power she wouldn’t have otherwise. No one could force her to do anything. She had lived long enough that she could speak her mind and not care about others opinions. She also had gained the power of invisibility. At family gatherings she could just sit back, amused and entertain herself watching the dramas of a younger generation without being noticed. At that age she just didn’t count for certain things. Being alone, she could do and go as she pleased. It was comforting. She had stopped trying and she was at peace.
Excited about starting her day and making herself breakfast she hastily finished getting dressed and opened her blinds. It would be a routine day, nevertheless a good one. She had the crossword puzzle to finish!
As she turned to leave the Earth suddenly spun off it’s axis and sent her stumbling forward. Caught by surprise she tried to regain her balance and gripped the bed frame, but with the loss of balance came loss of strength. The sun disappeared. Everything became dark before she hit the ground. Laying unconscious on her bedroom floor, she would never stand back up.
So I dedicate this story to one of my aunts in Chile. She was one of the aunts that raised me during my teen years there. Over a month ago I was informed she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. One morning she just fell to the floor in her room. When she was found hours later she was lying in a puddle of her own piss and shit as the hemorrhage caused her to lose control of her bodily functions.
She stayed in the hospital for a month, drifting in and out of consciousness. Although she is better she will never quite recover. She can barely mouth words, has lost most motor skils and can't do anything by herself, needing 24hr. supervision Other age related problems make her situation worse.
We were never really that close. She was a lonely woman who didn't know how to love without smothering and would end up driving you away.
As it happens commonly with young adults and their parents I didn't really appreciate her until I moved away to college and wasn't living with her anymore. Our relationship improved greatly over the years despite never becoming extremely close.
The last time we spent together was when I visited in February. She took me to lunch and asked me if had met any nice girls, if I planned on getting married or have children soon(gay is synonym to pervert in her dictionary. Although this is something that might have changed in recent years, my sexuality was never discussed). This conversation amused me.
I hope I don't see her again. If I do this means it will be years from now after enduring years in a practically vegetative state. Everyone around her will grow old and weary feeding her, bathing her, wiping her. That's no way to live. Certainly not for her. So I hope that if she doesn't improve drastically that I will one day get the phone call that she passed away.
I won't be suprised because in a sense she died that morning on her bedroom floor and as hard as it might be there comes a time when there is no choice but to let go.