I've been trying to think of something more artistic to capture in the current scene, but it's not really that kind of day. I'm visiting my 95 year-old kindred-spirit-saw-her-every-day-of-my-life growing up grandma in Colorado. For the first time in my life she seems old. She's sick, stomach cancer, and while she's all with it mentally she doesn't feel good physically. There's not a lot to do but putz around, chit-chat, watch TV, eat, drink ice water and make sure she's comfy. She's been sleeping a lot. Alma is bored to tears but hanging in.
I keep telling her we're not hungry, but she keeps asking. She got tears in her eyes a while ago and said she's upset because she can't do anything and it's frustrating. I know what she means. She's never stopped moving: cooking, cleaning, painting, knitting, fussing around with us and for us, worrying, doting, daydreaming and now she's just sort of stuck with The Food Network and all of us hovering around. Getting old sucks. I don't tell her it doesn't. I rub her back and her bones are light, which is new.
I'm not particularly sad or foreboding. There's a nice peace about being here and the nothingness of the clock ticking by. I walked Alma past the street where I grew up and pointed it out, but she was more interested in the rock collection she was building in her shirt pocket. The sun is out in the big Colorado sky and we both turn our faces up to it, our white Northeast skin soaking in the unfamiliar warmth like dry sponges in a puddle.
In this picture Alma sniffles from a lingering cold while watching the iPad and my grandma checks out her eyebrows in the magnifying mirror (just in case, you know). Her hair - which has never quite been any singular or natural-looking color - shoots out in seven different directions, holding the shape of the pillow from her last nap. About a Boy is on the TV and my almost-finished knitting project is tangled up at my feet. My uncle stepped out to have some cocktails with the neighbors (this is his house) and I'm contemplating heating up the bolognese sauce my mom left here. My grandma will no doubt ask if we're hungry again in 5 minutes, I'll assure her we're not and check Facebook again.
She's been sneaking stares at Alma all day and will look at me like, Did you see that? Did you see her?
And I'll say, What? What's she doing?
Nothing, she'll say. Che charina. Che bella. She's just so beautiful.
And I'll nod, and say, I know, I know and I'll think, so are you.