Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Chasing Time

I sit here at the computer, watching her. I don't let her know that I'm doing it. I surreptitiously flick my eyes up and back when her body is turned away from me. And, I rely on my peripheral vision to show me what she is doing. I watch as she moves to the calendar, checks the date and the appointments, and then moves again toward the refrigerator. She pulls on the door handle, roots around on the food-laden shelves, and shuts the door. Her hand is empty. Neither of us know what she wanted to get, and whether or not she will remember is anyone's guess.

Hours later, I witness similar actions when she studies the checkbook. Her eyes dance from the cable bill that sits unpaid on the counter and then to the tax bills I helped her pay last week. She picks up the tax papers, reads and rereads the information, opens the check book, and grips the pen in her hand. With an almost imperceptible shake of her head, she stops. She looks at me. She smiles and goes back to the calendar. The one she checked bright and early in the morning. The one she'll look at every 40 minutes or so. The one that tells her what day and month and year it is. But then, it's time for the refrigerator again.

It makes sense to me that she always claims to have "so many things to do," because nothing she begins ever gets finished, and most things never even get started. She is frazzled, flabbergasted, and overwhelmed by her inability, and thus far, she's trying so hard to not give in. She continues to grapple with making herself understood. She holds up the object so you know what she is talking about, and looks to me for help when she cannot explain what she wants to say. She says, "Don't think I'm crazy, but sometimes, I find things moved and I think that someone must have gotten into the house."

I could cry if I let myself. And don't get me wrong, I have cried. When I'm on the road after a long day of helping her, or when I'm so tired I can no longer see the woman she once was, the tears well up behind my eyelids. But usually, I am completely intrigued by this dance she performs throughout the day. She sends herself on a wild goose chase and continually comes up empty. All day, wandering from place to place, she is chasing something. She chases memories, chases dreams. Chasing time, really, and all the seconds that pass by in the blink of an eye. Seconds are all she has left to remember.


T said...

Beautifully written, tragically captured.

Christina said...

I would have liked to spend some time on this, massaging it into something better written, but I thought I better just get it out. The time for making it read better is later on, when all of this is done. Thanks.

Christina said...

How many times can I manage to put "better" into a comment?

Anonymous said...

I'm not experiencing this myself... yet. But one of my best friend's is. Her mom lives with her family and is going down hill quickly. It's sad to watch and I'm trying to be there for my friend, but it doesn't seem like there's anything that can be done.