“My mom had no understanding or even concern about me when I told her that I thought she was going to die that night in the hospital. She didn’t remember it so it didn’t happen. She had no idea.”
I was having coffee with my neighbor Kelly. She takes care of her elderly mom Isola.
“She’s at my sister’s house across the country for the next month but I’m still on auto pilot wondering if she needs anything. It’s like having a ghost. I’m so used to seeing her everyday. The kids are still walking to her house after school.” She took a long drag of coffee and looked out over the woods behind our homes. “Her old cat screams and screams when we leave. I miss my mom. I’m enjoying a bit of a break, but still… she drives me nuts but I miss her.”
Out of the corner of my eye I could see a ghostly shape standing by one of the trees. He gave me the finger than vanished.
I thought about the elders I watch out for. Everyday I worry about them. It isn’t as though we have to worry or care, but we do, because we have to. I never saw Kelly or me as caretakers. When I first met her we were in a club doing shots. It was 1987. She had a long blonde hair with a perm in it and shoulder pads on her dress. Now her hair was brown and straight and her shoulders a natural size. We were the same but so different.
Isola is a pretty woman in her 80’s with a sweet charm about her. Everyone love Isola. She drives Kelly nuts, but there is a sweet bond between them. Parents should all wish to have such bonds with their children. Though I have to admit Kelly’s bond with her own children is closer, just as I feel mine is closer with my kids than it is with my mother.
Out in the woods the ghost walked closer and mouthed the words “You wouldn’t understand Vampire.”
I would and did understand. Asshole. I was pissed and reacted by refreshing our coffee and hoping he’d go away. I looked back out the kitchen window and noticed he, Nigel – the ghost was watching Kelly.
He belonged to her, not to me. I’d just assumed because I’m a Vampire that he was attached to me somehow. Then again, why would he be? He just hangs out with me because I can see him and hear him. He hangs out with me because I’m not like Kelly.
Or I could be wrong.
We chatted more about Kelly’s mom. She told me stories in a Southern accent and dialect of her family that made me laugh out loud.
After she’d left I called my own mother. She never ages or gets confused. She never needs anything from me. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she does need something, like my attention and my interest and my company every once in a while. I’m just thinking out loud here.
I was going to look through my volumes of poetry for something to end this with but when I went to my shelves I found the ghost standing there giving me one of his judgmental looks.
“What?” I stood accusing him before he could accuse me.
“In another life we could have grown old together as friends do.”
For some unknown reason I was somewhat touched by his words. “We still can Nigel. You know, in our own way, we can grow old together.”
He smiled and vanished into the old leather bound volumes.
There is no longer the need for poetry right now. Just the knowledge that somethings, like friendship and love and the need to care who need us never gets old. Sure it sounds sappy, and you know how I hate most sap, but it is true.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman