Thursday, October 13, 2011

Soon, probably

Will she make it to 2012? Not that dates and numbers matter, but The Complete and Total Loser can't help wondering if his mother will be alive two and a half months from now. 
Not that he'd call her current state "alive." Yes, she's more alive than many. She gets up and eats, showers and all, but the majority of her waking hours are spent either making his 91-year-old father miserable with her petty demands (she bangs her cane against the floor like a hag in a Dickens novel) or just lying there, waiting. The Loser thinks that if he dressed like the Grim Reaper and entered her room she wouldn't be a bit surprised. 
He thinks these thoughts, light ones of her death, almost wishing it would happen soon, then feels awful. He wants his mother to die! When it happens he'll want to slit his throat for this.
But no. The Loser doesn't want his mother to die. His mother is a strong, smart woman who went to work as soon as the Loser, her youngest, was in first grade. She worked full time when many women married to men who made enough for them not to have to stayed home. She did well. She sold real estate before it was a cliche. The Loser's mother is funny, a good singer, stands on her head at parties, rides a motorcycle (for one summer in a vacation town, but still), has smoked pot when it was very illegal, drives too fast and is a good cook. His mother calls the Loser down from his room while washing dishes just for his company, laughs with him at reruns of "I Love Lucy" and Jerry Lewis movies on television when he get home from school, and splits a Tab with him while she's needle pointing, making room for the cat on her lap, and saw him through four leg operations, holding his hand to draw off the pain.
The Loser wants his mother to live forever. The woman he wants dead is the emaciated, feeble, needy woman who's responding to age with bafflement and pain, like a little girl slapped across the face by a stranger on the street. Who responds to the daily loss of life by trying to control others around her, never missing a chance to tell anyone in earshot about every ache. 
That's the woman the Loser wants dead. But when it happens, he'll know that his wished his mother dead also. 

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