I don’t know why I continue to visit. Mother no longer recognizes me and usually calls me by her sister’s name. Yesterday was the worst visit. When I put my coat on to leave she began rummaging through her closet.
“What are you looking for mom?”
“My purse. I can’t go without my purse!”
“Oh, I think you are staying here for dinner.” I tried to keep my voice light.
“No! I’ve got to get home to fix dinner for Al. He likes his dinner on the table after work.”
I knew not to tell her my father had died ten years ago.
Today she has asked me at least three times when we were going to eat lunch, even though we’d just left the dining room. The nurses tell me this is not unusual behavior for a person with dementia. But their words are not comforting. This is not how my mother, always a proper lady, should act. And if she realized she had soup spots on the front of her blouse she would be highly embarrassed.
Little by little she is fading way. Some day she will be gone. I guess this is a form of trial separation.
This weeks prompt was “trial separation”
My headache was back.
“Try acupuncture, acupressure, a little weed.”
My friends meant well but I had already tried it all. I went to New Mexico for heat therapy and ended up dehydrated with dry, flaky skin.
I travelled to Iceland for cold therapy. I came home with chilblains in my toes.
Light saber therapy just left me confused about who was my father.
Acupuncture did nothing but make me feel like a human pin cushion and acupressure actually tickled. The good thing about that was that I forgot about my headache when I was laughing. So I hopped on a plane bound for India for laugh therapy. It might have been effective except for the nasty case of “Delhi belly” I developed.
I’d rather not talk about the unfortunate affair of trying weed. All you need to know is that I never had a chance to try it and I met some really cool girls in jail.
Now I’m standing in front of the PIC clinic trying to muster up the courage to walk in. It is my last hope. I just had to swallow a capsule. I took a deep breath and entered the Parasites In Capsules clinic.
Parasite was the prompt at http://writingthe200.wordpress.com
Everyone else at the tree lot is searching for the “perfect” Christmas tree. A man holds a seven foot tree upright so his wife can pass judgement on its shape. A family debates whether or not the tree they like best will actually fit in their living room.
But I’m on a search for the tree no one else wants. A task that has become more difficult since Christmas trees are now raised on “farms” and only the trees with that classic cone shape make it to market.
At the end of a long row sits a smallish tree, trunk a little crooked, and branches that don’t conform to popular tastes – just the one I was looking for.
At home I put my little tree into the holder and make it as straight as possible. Then I find the worn cardboard box hidden behind the well organized plastic bins of ornaments. Inside are the tattered homemade decorations from my childhood. I string lights and paper chains on the tree and lovingly place each one. With the only the tree lights glowing, I close my eyes and take a step back in time, composing a love letter to my lost youth.
Carsen smiled sweetly. She always smiled sweetly, even when customers were rude. Like the woman in a chocolate brown designer suit who tried to use expired coupons.
“I’m sorry miss, it looks like some of your coupons are past their expiration dates.
Would you like me to dispose of them?”
“I certainly do not! Give them back!”
Carsen smiled sweetly, under the surface she was seething. This cashier job was supposed to be temporary, just until she finished school and found a “real” position. She couldn’t stand it much longer. One more “Scan faster!” from the retired man who has nowhere to be and she was quitting.
She looked up at the next customer, there he was. She flicked on her light and when the supervisor walked over Carsen asked for a short break. She headed straight to the store manager’s office, ready to turn in her keys.
“Ah, Carsen, I wanted to talk to you after your shift.”
Carsen smiled sweetly, under the surface she was trembling with shame. She had never been fired.
“I like your attitude and want to offer you the head cashier position.”
Carsen smiled sweetly, under the surface she was doing a happy dance.
Just wanted to let you know that I’m leaving on a jet plane.
I don’t know where I’ll end up but if you need to reach me send the letter to Layla at the Hotel California. She will find me.
It was your black magic, woman. Every night I could hear you mumbling over your candles and another piece of me drifted up to the spirit in the sky. I started planning my escape the night after you moved in. I knew you would eventually consume my very soul. It’s impossible for me to tell you how love and fear mingled in the misty nights. All I can do now is runaway and hope you will forget about me.
I’ll try to remember my life before we met, when I was whole. I might end up on a beach to find healing in the warm sand. Or seek solace in a remote cabin strengthened by the music of the night. Maybe the answers I seek are blowin‘ in the wind. If I have to, I’ll climb every mountain. This heart of mine can take no more. Today I shall be released.
So goodbye witchy woman.
Farewell my brown eyed girl.
Six months ago Lizzy was a successful project manager at a major high tech company. Now she was living off the grid on a small farm she purchased with her savings. No electricity, no running water, no car, no phone or computer, nothing that would leave a footprint in cyberspace. Things at work had become weird. She felt like she was being watched, constantly. Maybe she was paranoid but she felt more calm and relaxed in this new world. She had a vegetable garden, some chickens and a few goats. Learning to be self-sufficient hadn’t been as easy as she’d imagined but she approached it like any other project. Now she even had a few free hours every evening.
Loneliness was the only downside to her new lifestyle. Luckily there was an older woman on the next farm who befriended Lizzy. Each evening Lizzy would ride her bicycle through the field between their properties to sit on the porch with Mona and talk about the day, and the latest town gossip. When the sun set she rode home. Mona stood on her porch, waving, until Lizzy was out of sight then went inside and plugged herself into the company’s mainframe.
“We’re eliminating your position.”
Just like that I was unemployed and a year later I still didn’t have a job that would pay all my bills. I was once again living in my parent’s basement. Something had to change so when Aunt Victoria called with a business proposition, I didn’t hesitate.
Now I was slouched down in the driver’s seat of a rental car spying on Uncle Ralphie. My phone buzzed.
“What’s that rat doing?”
“Aunt Vic, you have to stop calling! I’ll let you know when something happens.”
I recalled that Winston Churchill referred to Britain’s years of economic hardships as the locust years. That pretty much described my current condition. A nugget of an idea began to form. If I completed this job to Aunt Victoria’s satisfaction she might suggest me to her book club friends. They all had husbands who needed watching.
Finally Uncle Raphie stepped out onto his front porch. I grabbed my binoculars and focused as he slowly walked down the steps, tugging on the leash of Aunt Vic’s bichon. They disappeared around the corner as I was dialing my aunt.
“He is walking the dog, just as he claimed.”
Job well done.
posted at http://writingthe200.wordpress.com
prompt – locust