Friday, November 16, 2012

unfinished story c. 06/11: Gold and Grandma

Whenever I approach my grandmother's chair I smell shit--unmistakably a blast of her bowels, released before their time. Thankfully my parents have sheathed her chair--hers because for obvious reasons she sits in it whenever she sits down to eat--with a sort of mat to protect the chair itself from the smell stuck to the inner ass-seams of her oversized and floral dresses. Obviously, my parents preserve the chair because she is disappearing; ninety-eight and tapering at every turn, she's not physically unhealthy but a victim of mature dementia, and so sits in her room for whole days, watching the TV that she cannot see due to the cataracts, calling me nightly into her room--"Bran," she emits like an automatic signal so soft you can't quite call it alarm--to close the blinds after she's eaten her dinner, and can only confirm that I've shut them by the rushing dark and the sudden clap with which the white planks embrace the windows. On my way out she sometimes grazes my arm with the back of her hand and asks me to change the channel, which for her means the speed of the TV's brightness: its boldness, its tribal pulse--and then the drone of Food Network, HGTV and so on, its vocal glaze heralding night, sleep. Her hearing is indeed fine. But her vision is a nonsense that she cannot deny. Light appears to her only as a sedimented hole, a constant ditch toward which she walks, or is wheeled by her walker, tennis balls attached to its two metal ends, with the help of which she creeps by laps through the house--on Monday, Wednesday and Friday--assisted, nay, spurred by her nanny, Frank, who holds her arm and lies to her carefully as she goes, my grandmother not really walking or pushing her walker but almost tossing it forward, wavering, always threatening to cease--"I'm ready to play cards," she'll say--and hating faithless motion but loving Frank's company too much to execute, to simply ease her grip and fall and stop living, for he is that final force which will hold her arm and speak her name, Lily, and not one of her titles, her three bitter household designations: Mother, Mom and Mama. Mama is mine. 

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