My grandmother is 83. Today she told me four times that I’ve always been a healthy eater. The first time I replied that no, I used to eat atrociously, and doesn’t she remember me eating all the rice pudding at Christmas?
We drive along a pitted road; me gripping the wheel and wishing I felt like talking to her, though not fervently enough to try. I hear her recount the boys removing her roses when they were renovating her house to sell it. Not surprising, this story follows her musing that she might sell her car, seen as someone else is always driving her. Not because she’s old, but because she has chosen a life of dependency.
I feel like the life has drained out of me. I want to lay on the floor. At the nursing home, pop stares straight ahead and ignores the woman who has sat on the couch and cried, and come here to give him her eggs. I have no desire to comfort either of them, and I regret the insinuation that I ought to. You make your bed and lie uncomfortably, old, forgetful, and wondering where your life went.
The toilet smells like shit. The door won’t lock. My grandfather doesn’t listen to what I say, but that’s got nothing to do with old age either.
On the table are chips, lollies, easter eggs. I’ll be right, thanks.
Where is my compassion? Left it at home with my fresh fruit and vegetables.