My mother quickly forgets that she asked about my dead father. The doctor’s say that the Alzheimer’s isn’t that bad. That we caught it early. It just feels worse then it is I guess. She has a nurse that comes every other day to make sure she’s taking her pills. The nurse told me once that I should move in, that it would be better for her if someone was in the house, but I can’t do that . . . I won’t.
“Do you want me to make us lunch Mom?”
“Why don’t we go out instead?”
“I think it’s better if we stay in for lunch. Plus I can’t stay long.”
“Oh okay. I just haven’t been out in a week. I am craving some Robs Roast,” she says with a huge grin on her face then licks her lips. I try to smile back, but instead take a loud exhaling breath.
“Robs went out of business two years ago.”
“Oh no! What happened!? That place was delicious! Robs roast beef was the best in town.”
She has a confused but concerned look on her face. Whenever I come see her and make lunch for us, we have the same conversation about Robs Roast. Sometimes I tell her the truth . . . that Rob’s son died in Afghanistan and he couldn’t move on from it. I mean, who could? Today, I don’t tell her the truth.
“I think they couldn’t afford to keep it going anymore. That’s what I heard at least,” I finish making us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and place them on the table for us.
“Well that’s a shame. I should write him a letter. These look delicious,” she takes a square and takes a big bite out of it. I eat a few squares and then realize how hot it is in her house.
“Why is it so hot in here?”
“It’s the winter Tiffy, I need to keep warm,” I walk over to her thermostat and see that it says 90 degrees.
“Mom! It’s 90 degrees in here!”
“Are you trying to sweat to death?!
“I’m not sweating at all.”
“Your killing me over here,” I walk back to the table and kiss her on the cheek, “I gotta go Mom, I have some things I want to get done today.”
“Why so soon? Why don’t you stay a little longer?”
“I’ll call you to check in later okay, I promise,” I say as we both get up and walk towards the front door. Before I leave she hugs me tight. After she got sick, her hugs became longer and tighter. I look down her back and lift my hand to let go when I see my hand has left an orange imprint on her shirt. The heat from her house was ruining my tan.
“Love you, don’t forget to call me later.”
“Love you too, I won’t,” I say this knowing if I don’t call she won’t remember I was supposed to. I leave her house as I stare at the orange sweat on my hand. I get in my car and drive back to the salon for an extra ten minute session.