The house in the frame

February 15, 2012
She points to the house in the frame.

“That used to be mine…” she says, a tremor in her voice that makes me melancholy.

I examine her face with interest.

There are lines etched deep in her cheeks and forehead.

Grey sprouts among her thinning black hairs.

A woman in a purple smock comes in with a massive cart, lined with pill bottles and bio-hazard containers.

She puts three tablets in a paper Dixie cup and passes it to the older woman sitting across from me.

I smile a smile that is polite and conveys my feelings of awkwardness…”Do you want me to leave?” I question.

“No.” The old lady says. “You can stay for a while longer.”

She reaches for the glass of Alka-Seltzer on her night stand.

It takes her five minutes to get a hold of it.

Even then her hand trembles and liquid sloshes out of the cup and on to her polyester pants, leaving elliptical wet splotches.

She downs the pills and glances at me.

I smile again.

We sit there for a while, not speaking, not moving except for the occasional scratch of a nose or clearing of the throat.

After a bit I can hear her snoring,

Tiny purrs that vibrate out of her esophagus, her eyelids shut, blue veins atop their surfaces.

I slip out of the door on my tiptoes, careful not to make




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