His house wasn’t anything special. It was small. The outside had white siding that was gray with dirt, and had little appeal. The inside was rather displeasing, to put it mildly. In fact, inside was utterly disgusting. The dust balls stood as tall as my shoes, which I left on because the floor was so gross. He had two cats that weren’t properly litter trained; probably because he hardly ever changed their litter. They peed on boxes, of which there were many, in corners, or on anything that was left on the floor. The smell was overpowering, and made me want to vomit, but I got used to it. What was worse though, than the atrocious smell, and the thick layer of dust that coated everything, was that when the cats threw up on the floor - probably from all the hair balls, Dad would set a piece of newspaper over top of it, leaving it to dry into a hard crust. Just as the cats avoided their litter box; which I never blamed them for, I avoiding the bathtub. I figured it was far dirtier than I could ever achievable be, and I knew I wouldn’t be there for very long. So I often went outside, and I always kept my windows open.
I remember sitting there thinking about all the times that my father had been a disappointment to me, how he was a horrible husband, and father.
One of my first memories was of being home alone with him when Mom was working. I was two, or three years old at the most. She taught me how to look after myself, because she knew he could be absolutely useless. There was no certain emergency that day, I was just hungry. Dad was off drinking. So I pulled a chair over to the counter, and climbed up. Leaning over the counter, I grabbed a slice of bread from the bag, and as I put it in the toaster, my father walked into the kitchen (probably to get himself another drink). He grabbed me from the chair, and spanked my bum really hard. I remember crying until Mom got home; my bottom hurt, and I was starving. My father had absolutely no clue.
Mom always said I shouldn’t count on him for anything. She was right. I realized now that I couldn’t even count on him to save my life.
When I could hear him shuffling around downstairs, I knew it was time for a talk.
However, after a rather uneventful conversation, and listening to him sob for it’s entirety, we came to a pretty pathetic agreement. He just couldn’t give up the booze. So instead, he promised never to drink around me anymore. I have to give him some credit, he kept his word for a while.
I never told Mom what happened that day. Afterwards, Dad seemed to be on his best behaviour. My father was a very sensitive man, and I was his whole world - “Daddy’s little girl.” He had already lost my mom, he didn’t want to lose me as well.
“We need to speak with you.” My eyes open, and I see the nurse, but Mom isn’t with her.
Startled, I drop the crocheting on the floor, and follow her into a room where I see three doctors standing in front of an x-ray. Moms’ sitting alone in the corner, expressionless. Proceeding inside, I refrain from sitting in the chair that the nurse directs me to, arms crossed, I tightly squeeze them, my fingernails digging into my skin.
This is the same room I stood in on the first day we came here, when I asked the doctor what he meant, and he explained:
“I’m sorry, but your mother has a tumor in her lungs the size of a grapefruit, and it’s metastasized, spreading to her brain.” He then proceeded to give his prognosis: that my mom only had a few months left to live.
This time, there were three of them, and the one I knew spoke first. “The tumors in your mother’s brain are growing very rapidly, and are causing a lot of pressure. This is why she’s having so much discomfort, impaired speech, and lack of mobility in her extremities. We want to make her as comfortable as possible. Since she seems to be very frustrated, we would like to help her by alleviating the pressure. In doing so, hopefully, she’ll regain some of her mobility, and ability to communicate with us.” He pauses.
I try to absorb wait he just said. One of the other doctors proceeds to explain a procedure which can be performed to help my mother. They speak as though mom isn’t even in the room. Then the first doctor continues.
“Since you’re the Power of Attorney, and she’s unable sign the forms, we need to know what you want us to do.” I looked at him, dumbfounded.
“I need a minute,” I muster.
I go over to Mom, kneel down in front of her, and ask “Mom, do you know what the doctors are saying?”
She nods, yes. “What do you want me to do, Mom?” I ask, then I remember she can’t answer that, I rephrase the question: “Mom, do you want to do this?
Again, she nods, yes, but I feel unsure, and obligated to ask her again. “Mom, are you sure you want to do this?”
She nods yes, and tries to speak, getting very agitated. Turing to the doctors, I say: “What do you want me to sign?” Before we leave, the nurse shaves each side of her head, and marks her with a marker to prepare for tomorrow. Going home was a blur. I lay restless in my bed, imagining what will happen tomorrow. I can’t sleep. To get the horrible images out of my head, I force myself to think other thoughts.
I’ve often wondered why Mom went back into that house. One day, I finally decided to ask here. Her response was, “I had to get my purse.”
“My God Mom, we should have just left. It didn’t matter.” I remember saying.
“I know,” she said, and signed, “I’ve paid for it ever since.”
I never understood why she took that risk, I probably never will. I do know however that she was just trying to look after us the best way she knew how.
Mom worked so hard at everything she did. For over thirty years, she was an under appreciated secretary who worked all year long, long hours, and seldomely took holidays. She did the same thing every day, and every week, for years. Waking at the crack of dawn, she got dressed, packed her breakfast, and lunch, and headed off to work. She would even toast her toast before leaving home, wrap it in tinfoil, and stick it in her bag, eating it once she got to work, while she worked. The bag she took to work rest at home by the bench at the front door, always stinking, and filling most of our home with the smell of cold toast. I will forever hate the smell, and taste of cold, mushy toast. She insisted that this saved time, and also claimed that by working early, and leaving early, she was able to avoid rush hour traffic, which was probably true. However, by the time she ran errands, got home, and made supper, she was ready for bed. On weekends, she caught up on the housework, leaving her almost no time at all to enjoy life.
If my mother got paid by commission, or even by the jobs that she preformed, she would have been a billionaire. Sadly, she made little money, and always had trouble making ends meet. She continued this monotonous routine for years, and years, and years. Little did she know, that there could have been more to life than this.
I wake, feeling like I hardly slept at all.
This day turns out to be like all the others, except as I’m about to sit down in my seat in the waiting room like I normally do, my arm is yanked. Looking up, I see Mom in the wheelchair, about to be taken away by the nurse, her arm stretched out to me, tugging on my sleeve with what little strength she has left. She wants me to go with her. So I get up, and follow her, and the nurse into a room.
The nurse is busy preparing thing. Mom sits, and to my surprise tightly squeezes my hand. She’s gritting her teeth, and her eyes begin to water. I can tell she’s scared. I don’t want to be there, but I can’t leave her alone. I want to cry, but for my mother’s sake, I know I have to be strong. I bite my lip, and look up at the ceiling, trying to get the tears to go away. They’re ready.
As they begin the procedure, I feel like I’m on the set of a horror movie. They lay my mother down, and restrain her. She tenses. The doctor gives her two needles on either side of her temples, and on each side of the back of her head. Then, he starts drilling into the side of her skull. I cringe, and my mother screams. It’s absolutely horrible, and so utterly inhumane.
When they’re done, we leave, and my mother has four screws sticking out of her head, I can’t help but think of Frankenstein, and I can’t bare to look at her. This cannot be really happening.
That was Chapter Four, of the story. I will post the next Chapter in a day, or two. All the Chapters will be available along the sidebar as I post them.
I would love some feedback, good or bad.
Thank you for reading along with the story.
Mama of Romance
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