Grandma Time

The four of us sat in a small booth at Raphael’s, an americanized Italian restaurant in a strip mall near the new Wal-Mart. “Whose idea was this?” Mama-dot asked.

“Nick’s” I said.

There was a mounted TV hanging in a corner, Nick and Daddy Pem were watching the Masters and talking about Tiger Woods and sand traps and wind conditions. I was mostly silent. “Whose idea was this, to come here?” Mama-dot asked.

“Nick’s,” I said.

My grandparents are moving into a new house soon, leaving behind the cluttered home they have occupied for the past 20 years. Everyone is afraid that this is Daddy-Pem’s attempt at  finally curing my grandmother of being a pack-rat. I have never seen her toss anything out. Boxes of tissues, old magazines, dust, filth, grime, layers upon layers of forgotten clothing, toys and cans and bottles and pills and dishes and “Whose idea was it to come here?” Mama-dot asked. Daddy-Pem shifted in his seat while Nick went on about his drive.

“Nick’s,” I said.

My uncle sent the two of them on a vacation a few years back. We all  broke into their house so we could all clean it. We where there for three days, scrubbing and vacuuming and bagging. It was the first time I had ever noticed that their house was covered in wall-to-wall pink carpet. Six months later, at Christmas, their home was messy again. In fact, it was messier than it had been when we cleaned it, like Mama-dot had gone into overdrive to get things back to what they once where. Piles of clutter and mess and “Whose idea was it to come here?” Mama-dot asked. “I love it here.”

“Nick’s,” I said.

I know it is difficult for Daddy-Pem. This is exactly how his mother had died. She lost her memory, then her mind, then her life. Time is funny like that, sometimes it just keeps replaying itself with different characters. But then, the characters can choose to recite their lines however they see fit, things can be different. All the pain and hurt can be replaced with love and tenderness and “I love it here,” Mama-dot said.


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