Later I force her use the walker we just got her because none of us are strong enough to hold her up anymore. Especially when she does that I- gotta- sit- down- collapse- on- the- floor thing. That walker is our safety net. It has a chair and it can hold her weight on its arms better than me or P. or G. She is pissed off about having to use it but does what I tell her and grabs the handles and starts shoving herself through space. I shout all the right things like You Have to Get Your Strength Back and You're Doing Great and Let's Go You're Strong.
She's as bad a driver as me and neither of us can get the walker through one doorway and into another without banging chairs, walls, the secretary desk thing, bookcases, and more chairs.
I put on THE PARENT TRAP with Lindsey Lohan because I don't have anything left inside to watch SINGING IN THE RAIN for the thirtieth time I just don't. There's nothing left inside.
THE PARENT TRAP is a miserable movie for both of us. She can't follow it because there is no music to take her through a familiar story and while I wince at the bad writing and crude acting, but marvel at the young Lohan, I answer Florence's repeated questions about the title the plot the actors the title the plot the actors the title the plot and soon it's over ...
...and I surrender and put on SINGING IN THE RAIN and Florence begins to sing furious each and every note and soon to hell with Gene Kelly where ever he is in the song, she motions me to join in and I sing along with her "... in the rain, what a glorious feeling..."
Florence is singing furiously along with the radio again and at some point, to hell with Sinatra where ever he is at in the song, she is in the middle of her own rendition.
"I am singing every note in tune! You don't sing in tune!"
I don't bother. Like most of my recent experiences it doesn't matter what I do. Today all that matters is that Florence needs me to be someone incapable of singing as well as she does. It's the highlight of her week.
Coleslaw shakes precariously on her fork. I hover with a napkin. It's Saturday. P. has successfully cleaned her up and gotten her to the kitchen table. There is no food she likes anymore, save the coleslaw. That she'll eat without telling me how awful it tastes.
I cut another piece of meatloaf. Hand it to her. Do the mommy thing of "Just one bite come on you need to eat some more..."
She bites. "This is terrible."
It's the third sandwich I've tried on her. Nothing works. "What do you want? How can I make it better?"
"Make the food taste good again."
I stare at all the pills I've poured into little neat daily sections. The drugs keeping her alive are killing her life.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.