Who


While sitting with my mother yesterday morning on two different occasions, I fell asleep and immediately began to dream. The first time was around eight oíclock, when she was nursing a headache and dozing in her chair with a glass of apple juice in her hand. I had already had two mugs of coffee. The second time was around ten-thirty. I had showered and dressed. She had finished her breakfast, her headache was gone, and she was in the same chair, talking. No specific reply was necessary on my part, just a brief response now and then to show I was listening. And I was listening. I always do listen. But our conversations these days are not really conversations. My motherís thoughts follow a predictable pattern. Anymore, I often know what she is going to say even before she says it.

She didnít notice how drowsy I was, and is completely unaware of how tired I am in general. One way or another, she gets her rest. She usually sleeps well at night, sometimes with her glasses and the light on. When she doesnít, she makes up for it in one of her chairs the following day.

In effect, this gives her the ability to go on indefinitely. The other evening, she fell. She had just put on a sweater and was going to sit down when she accidentally sat on the arm of her leather recliner, slipped off, and landed on the floor, hitting the back of her head against a wooden stool under the kitchen counter nearby. Within moments, a large bump formed. I used ice to reduce the swelling. My wife, who is a nurse, made sure nothing was broken.

Now the fall is all but forgotten. Life goes on. My mother wants to write to her sisters, makes little or no progress each day. Between unanswerable questions and emergencies, I scribble, draw, or read. I seldom get very far. Sometimes only a sentence or two.

When all else fails, I look at myself in the mirror. Then I have to laugh. With these dark circles under my eyes, I look like an old bearded owl. Who.

August 7, 2006








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