Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Small Discovery

Sorry, I broke the rules today and wrote prose on "Discovery." Forgive me or don't read if you don't have the time : )

"Hey Miz G! How are you doing today?" 
"Not so good," she barely whispered from under her ratty blanket where she lay on the couch. Mrs. G was always the last stop on my Meals on Wheels route. She required some extra TLC. 
"Sorry to hear that, Miz G. Are you hungry? I brought your meal."
"Yeah, I'm hungry! You're late. Bring me sommen' to eat." I brought her the hospital provided meal, unwrapped it for her, and helped feed her, as she had trouble handling the utensils on her own. The food always seemed to perk her up a bit. 
"Gimme more of dem potatoes. None a dat corn! Dey know I don't eat corn! Why dey keep givin' it to me?" When she was finished, I put her carton of milk in her tiny refrigerator with the dozens of others she insisted on keeping for the dozens of cats she fed. She never drank any of them. Then I cleaned up the leftovers and straightened the kitchen. Checked her stove and faucet, as lately, she had developed the unsettling habit of leaving them running. 
"Anything else you need, Miz G?" I knew there would be before she said a word. Sometimes she wanted me to look up a telephone number and make a call for her; sometimes she needed help getting dressed; once she wanted her sheets changed. She was 97 years old, 98 on bad weeks. She was entitled. 
"I need to comb my hair. Bring me my comb."
"Where is it, Miz G?"
"Go look on my table by my bed." I dutifully went into her bedroom to look. She had only recently trusted me alone in there. I saw no comb on the table and told her so. "Go back and look again!" she commanded. No comb.
"Well, mebbe it's in my bathroom," she pointed like an empress issuing edicts from her throne. I checked the bathroom. No comb there either.
"Do you have a brush or something, Miz G?" I asked hopefully.
"I can't comb my hair with a brush! I need my comb! Keep looking!" 
After several more unproductive minutes searching her tiny home, an idea occurred to me. 
"Miz G, maybe the comb is on your couch somewhere."
"I don't think so."
"I'm going to check, okay?"
"Alright." And so I gingerly started poking around the timeworn couch cushions in search of Mrs. G's comb. There were enough crumbs to feed an army of mice, old bills, and an assortment of pills, about one of which Mrs. G said, "Gimme dat!" and popped into her mouth. Still no comb. Finally, I suggested that Mrs. G stand up for a minute so that we could check underneath where she had been sitting. She smiled and said, "Mebbe I should do dat." I helped her up. On the couch where Mrs. G had been sitting was her black, plastic comb. 
"Miz G! I discovered your comb! It was under you on the couch!"
"It was under me da whole time?  Heh, heh, heh..." she giggled in her almost childlike way. "I guess it's 'bout time for you to be leaving."
"Yes it is. I'll see you next week."
"I might be dead. The Lord may take me. It's time for me to go."
"I'd miss you if you were gone, Miz G." And I do.


Anonymous said...

I like it! You are not banished. No restrictions in my kingdom.

trisha said...

cute story, very very sweet. :)


Ginny said...

Well written, I can just picture this exchange between this elderly woman, Miz G, and her meal person and friend. What a lovely excerpt into her life.