Whenever I visit Mellie, I can tell how quickly she will be ready to grab my purse, and hand it over to me. Sometimes, she will even start opening the door for me; while she tells me “I will walk with you to the car.” That’s her way of telling me, “She wants to be left alone. But there are times when it’s the opposite, as she often wished for me to spend the night with her. But, she will never say it. So, the clever old lady has another tactic in order to get my attention, and convince me to remain in her company for the night. She will first start by sharing her latest pain diagnosed from her body, and gradually act as if she is losing her mind. Last weekend when I visited her, within a few seconds from my arrival, she started telling me how “her hair, nose, eyes, neck hands and fingers, were hurting her.” I was flattered when I realized she was just soliciting my company, which is a rare incident with her. I have to admit though, my thrill escalated when I noticed she was wearing one of her acting costume; I knew then, it was “Showtime” at Mellie’s house.
My mom is eighty three years old, therefore, I do understand she is prone to some illness; although her memory remains intact. There are times, from her body language, it is evident, she’s experiencing major joint discomfort. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a while back. But after much observation, I had realized her nose would extend an inch or two longer, whenever she was exaggerating about her diagnosed. I would conclude, out of all “her fingers, nails, toes, and hair,” she claims are hurting her; it is possible, her genius brain was the heavy weight, the cause of her claimed discomfort.
So I spent Saturday night with her. And, by the time I woke up, she had “drunk her tea, prepared her Sunday meal, ate her fruits, had a cup of coffee, a cup of soup, washed my brother’s shirt and her underwear, (by hands) ironed her clothes, and dressed for church.. Don’t’ forget the face phone conversation in order to wake me up.” Yes, it was nearly EIGHT OCLOCK IN THE MORNING, when her phone conversation woke me up. And believe me, it was not an accident either. (You know what I mean?) My mom does not believe in letting the sunrise while she’s still in bed. “It will cause one to be lazy!” She always said. So after she was certain I was awakened, she said goody. And, when she saw me walking toward the bathroom door, she said: “Oh! You awaaaake! What do you want for breakfast? I have soume coffee, soume soup, soume bagerl, soume crème cheese…..? I gave her that “disbelief look”, since I could detect an amused tone in her voice. So with a hand gesture, I showed her “I was not kosher yet.” Immediately after I finished with my hygiene needs, I joined her in the kitchen, and greeted her, “good morning.” She turned toward me, answered back “Bonjour Madame!” With a nice smile. That’s when I noticed her face was already powdered, her silver hair tightly held back with a couple crystal hair pins. She had an unusual glow, which lead me to believe she was well rested. She was humming a gospel song. Silently, I looked at her with great contentment, and comfort, as I thought to myself: “If she was indeed sick last night, she must be feeling much better now.” An ease travelled through my mind, releasing me from all the doubts, of possibly losing her any time soon.
While she prepared me a cup of coffee, I comfortably sit on one of her high chair; a wood chair near the kitchen door, which was her favorite spot. As she was about to give me the cup of coffee, I felt the urge to ask her: “How are you feeling this morning Mellie?” Had I known my mother was about to grace me with an Oscar winner performance, I would have rushed and grabbed my phone to capture that thrilling moment. The eighty three year old woman had suddenly stopped walking. While she refrained from giving me the cup of coffee, which she held in her right hand,. She slightly raised her head, gave me a vague look, then raised her head above mine, slowly turned her head to the right, than to the left, while her eyes starring through space. To top it all, afterward she raised one leg, and dropped it backward, as her whole body followed the same rhythm, leading me to believe she was about to fall, but immediately she withheld herself. Then she looked at me, as if I was a total stranger, as she handed me the hot cup of coffee, she said: “You see, what just happened? I’m losing my memory. I completely forgot where I was.” Simultaneously, she placed her left hand on her right risk, while frowning her face to show me how much pain she was feeling there as well. “Oh mom!” I gasped with sympathy. As soon as she noted the compassion on my tone of voice, she turned to look at me for a second, then started to walk toward her bedroom and grabed her shoes. She slightly raised her voice and said “By the way, don’t forget my orders.” “Which order?” I asked her. “I thought I told you I will need three dozen of patties by early next month to take to Boston with me. Have you forgotten?” “Oh!” I answered her. “You wanted three dozen of beef patties, right?” Knowing very well she had requested “two dozen of chicken, and one dozen of beef.” She yelled back at me, “No! I told you I wanted “ ‘deux” – “two” dozen of chicken, and “une”-“ one “dozen of beef. I’m leaving on the third of June. I told you why, didn’t I? Two of your cousins are graduating from nursing school. As I am the eldest remaining in the family, I have to be there. You don’t have to bake them, just give them to me frozen. The trip to Boston is only…………………………….I’ will be there for a week, I might decide to stay there for two…………………………………. You know those girls just came from Haiti, and now they are already graduating from college. They are my sister’s …………………………………”
“Mon, how are you feeling now?”
“Ouch! My back is killing me. Oh my God! My memory, my memory. Mmmm!”