July 21, 2019
I was making dinner, making sure mom’s steak was medium well, then cutting it up so she can eat it with her left hand. As I cut the meat, trying not to look too closely, feel the reality too real. Trying not to fall into the vortex of dark, my familiar place of dark.
I see myself as I might be seen. Unshowered. In an oversized long t-shirt, nothing under. A t-shirt too big for me, even me. Way too big. The one I wear when I cook, so I don’t get grease spots on my good shirts. It’s the only thing I’ve worn the last two days. Day and night. There are grease spots, and some drips of red in front. But I don’t remember from what.
Tonight I’ll take a shower. And just put on another too big t-shirt. Because there’s no reason to really dress. I’ll brush my teeth with that new whitening toothpaste the hygienist told me about. It’s supposed to whiten you three shades lighter. And starts working in three days.
What’s a tooth shade? How is it measured? Why do I want whiter teeth? Is it just because they’re not as white as I want them to be? They’re not as white as other peoples are? Why does that matter? Why are white teeth important? Because they indicate good hygiene? Youth? There’s an entire industry built around white teeth. Am I buying into the bullshit? Because I don’t think the desire for white teeth is innate.
Mom hasn’t showered in over a week. I keep suggesting it. She resists. It will be a big undertaking. And I’m just as much dreading it as she. In the interim, we use the no rinse soap. It leaves your skin feeling soft with no smell at all. There’s an entire industry built around no rinse soap. And dry shampoo. Those items that tide you over until you can attend to your hygiene properly. Perhaps that is an innate desire. To be clean. It feels good. But sometimes the anticipation of the effort overwhelms.
Mom’s sitting with her new lap tray in her lap, reclined, remote under her left hand, with her dirty dinner plate and fork, and the teaspoon I use to make her herbal tea, neatly arranged in the center of the tray. The teaspoon with the holes. The one I use to mix in the Miralax. In every cup of tea. At least a capful of Miralax. And when she doesn’t drink it all, I walk by and point to it. She shakes her head and grimaces as if she might cry.
“Do you want me to heat it up?”
Sometimes she says yes. Sometimes she just grabs the cup and angrily downs what’s left, eliminating the issue entirely in one gulp.
I see myself as I might be seen. And the terror of watching the ugly of aging hits me full on, like a head on crash, where your head is sheared full off. In one motion, in one moment.
It’s over. My life is over.
“Depression is the inability to construct a future.” -Rollo May