I’m going to do something a little out of the ordinary, for me, where my blog is concerned. I’m going to post a story of mine.
Okay, first let me apologize to my numerous (all 8 of you) followers for not blogging the last couple of weeks. I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about the holidays taking all free time away, so I’ll simply state an overwhelming sense of laziness is to blame for me not making a post (during the holidays ☺).
In mid-November, my boy had surgery and during that week, all of my momentum seemed to slowly creep to the static state it is, today. Now, like the rest of the world, I’m feeling an abundant need to make 2016 more productive, and I need to get off my butt and make it happen. Sorry…I digress. It was during the time of his surgery (actually, a few days prior) I submitted the following story to Writer’s Digest for their Short-Short story competition. I don’t really think I expected to win/place/show or even get mentioned; however, the story was a bit taxing as the fiction I wrote has basis in reality.
Below, you will read my interpretation of what a
patient person who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease feels during the latter stages of the process. I have read stories from survivors (I have heard and experienced them, too, firsthand). I have read stories from those afflicted as they try to tell what is happening in the early stages of this awful disease. I hadn’t, though, heard the story from the afflicted, as it happened, in real time.
Writing in the first person/present tense is brutal. Still, I hope I did justice to what Lydia was feeling in her last days, as well as offering a some possible insight to anyone watching their personal Lydia go through it now.
I would normally say enjoy the story…but, that somehow feels a little weird.
By Tony Wassom
“Are you finished?”
“Mrs. Wilson, are you finished with your plate?”
“I’m so sorry, dear, I didn’t see you there.”
“That’s okay. Can I take your plate?”
“Aren’t you eager? Yes, you may take my plate, but not until I’ve had my meal.”
“Mrs. Wilson, you just finished.”
“Oh, dear me, I am sorry. My mind must be somewhere else. Yes, by all means take my plate, and I think I’ll walk back to my room, now.”
“Yes ma’am. You have a nice day.”
That was certainly embarrassing. I wonder how long I was sitting there.
Oh, look; someone left the crossword on the end-table. I used to love crossword puzzles, so much. And, there’s a pencil.
Hmm…this couch feels funny. I bet Jack bought it and didn’t think I’d notice. Let’s see…One Across: “____upon a time…” Must be the Monday puzzle; should be a pretty easy one.
O N E C.
One Down, three letters: Outdated. I should have brought a pen for this one.
O R P.
Two Down: Recent: pref….
“How was your breakfast?”
“Oh, it was fine. Thank you.”
“Good. I was hoping you would like it.”
“I’m sorry, dear, do I know you?”
“Oh, Ms. Lydia, you have such a lovely smile. Yes, we spoke just before breakfast, but it was very noisy with all the people that were in the dining room.”
“All the people who, dear. Not that…who.”
“Yes, of course you are right. My apologies.”
“No need to apologize. You are in school to learn; I am here to teach.”
“Yes, ma’am. By the way, John will be here, soon. You want me to help you clean-up?”
“Oh, I haven’t seen him in so long! Yes, would you mind? Oh, I can’t wait to see my Johnny.”
“I think he is bringing other visitors, too. He said James and Joan are in town and coming to see you!”
“Who’s that, dear?”
“James and Joan, your other chil…hmm. I bet you’ll know them when you see them.”
I cannot believe there is nothing on this blessed television about the war.
“Jack, did we get a paper, today?”
I bet that little shit next door took it, again.
“Jack! Can’t you hear me yelling at you?”
Probably out with his whore making plans to get rid of me. I guess I’ll go look, myself. It’s not enough I make his breakfast, lunch, and supper, I have to…who the hell is that, and at this hour?
“Jack, get the phone!”
“Jack, get the damn phone!”
“Never mind, I’ll get it myself. How about I make up your excuse, too? Sorry, Liddy, I couldn’t hear it…Sorry, Liddy, I was in the garden…Sorry, Liddy, I was with my whore…take your pick!”
That man is driving me crazy.
“Mrs. Wilson, this is Kate at the front desk. Your son, John, is here to see you. May I send him to your room?”
“Oh, my, what a wonderful surprise! Yes, yes, please send him!”
Hmph…there’s today’s paper. I wonder if there’s anything about the war. Police Action is the stupidest term I’ve ever heard. Boys killing boys, it’s all war. Oh, I hope Johnny is okay, over there. The paper hasn’t had a thing about what’s going on. Maybe there’s something on the TV.
I wonder who that is.
“Yes, who is it?”
“Hi, Mother, it’s John.”
“John? Johnny? Oh my God, Johnny!”
“Yes, Mother, is it okay if we come in?”
“Oh, Johnny, yes! Come in. Come in! Oh, I thought I’d never see you again!”
I’m sure I’m embarrassing him in front of his friends, but I don’t care. My Johnny is home! Alright, Lydia, control yourself. You’re getting his shirt messy. Pull yourself together.
“Oh, it is so good to see you, Johnny. Are these your friends? Hello, I’m Mrs. Wilson, Johnny’s…I mean John’s mother. And, you are?”
“Mother, this is James and Joan. Don’t you recognize them?”
“I’m sorry, let me clear my eyes. Looks like you’ve been crying too, dear. What was your name, again?”
“Joan…my name is Joan.”
“Yes, well I shall not forget it. Any friends of Johnny’s are always welcome in our house. Jack, Dear! Johnny is here!”
“I’m sorry, young man, but I think you’ve confused me with someone else. What was your name, again?”
“Mother, it’s…it’s James.”
“Yes, right, James. I’m sorry, did you say you were looking for your mother?”
Poor man. How could he possibly think that I could be his mother? He has to be in his 40’s or 50’s. Do I look that old?
“Johnny, did I say something to upset your friend? Why is he crying?”
“No, Mother, he’s just sad. Is it okay if we all sit and talk?”
“I reckon, but I would appreciate it if your friends would leave their emotions at the curb, next time.”
Ah…Bob Barker, must be 11:00. Wait, that’s not Bob. Well, I’m sure this other young man will do just fine. I wonder if the paper is here…
“Mother, are you okay?”
“Oh, Johnny, you scared the life out of me! When did you get here?”
“Just a few minutes ago, Mother. Don’t you remember?”
“Oh, Johnny, I was probably involved with my puzzle. Where is that puzzle? Oh, well. These your friends? Hello, I’m Mrs. Wilson.”
I’m not sure who made this meatloaf, but they could use some cooking lessons.
“James, would you please pass me the salt?”
“You remembered my name! Yes, ma’am. Here you go!”
“Of course I remembered your name…I named you. What kind of fool thing is that to say?”
What kind of son brings a woman to dinner and doesn’t introduce her. When I see Jack, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. James probably learned all about whoring from his no-good father, anyway.
“Mother, Jimmy and Joanie are staying with me for a few days. You want us to come back and visit, tomorrow?”
“Oh, Johnny, I’d love to see you every day! If it’s okay with you, just leave your friends at home, next time. Okay? It was very nice meeting both of you.”
I can’t remember a time the house was so dark and cold.
“Jack, I can’t see well enough to turn on the switch. Jack?”
Why the hell is this rock on the floor?
Oh, good, there’s some light coming from the other room…that almost looks like headlights. Why is there a car…?
…how did I get outside?
Oh, this is wrong. What is happening, to me? Why don’t I remember going outside?
Oh, this is not right. This is not right!
Where are my shoes? Oh my God! Where are my clothes? Someone is trying to hurt me! I must have been attacked!
Who the hell is this woman running toward me?
“Someone, help me!”
“Mrs. Wilson, it’s okay! I’m here to help you back to your room.”
“Who the hell are you? Get away from me! Help!”
Oh, thank God, that policeman is coming over.
“Officer, please help me. I do not know this woman and she is trying to take me away.”
“Ma’am, just calm down and try to speak a little slower.”
“I will not calm down! This woman has taken my clothes and she’s trying to hurt me!”
“Mrs. Wilson, John is almost here. He’ll help, but we need you to try and think about your words. The officer and I cannot understand you.”
“What do you mean you can’t understand me? Officer, tell this bitch to leave me alone!”
“Ma’am, if you don’t calm down, I’ll have to restrain you.”
“Restrain me? I’m the victim! What is wrong with you?”
“Mrs. Wilson, your son is here. Everything will be okay. We just need to get you back to your room.”
“My son is in Viet Nam, you bitch! Stop lying to me!”
“Mother… Mother, Calm down. Let’s all go back to your room and I’ll sit with you while you go to sleep, okay?”
“Officer, I have no idea who this man is. Please help me…I’m begging you!”
“Mother, we can’t understand what you’re saying. Try to concentrate on your words.”
“Has the whole world gone crazy? I’m speaking as clearly as you are!”
“Why the hell are you crying? Officer, half bean bleed!”
That didn’t sound right. Oh my God, what is wrong with me?
“I love you, Mother.”
Why is this man crying?
What is this on my wrist? Am I under arrest?
What is going on?
“Keep that needle away from me! Help!”
“Mother, please…please stop fighting.”
This is all wrong.
I don’t understand.
“Stop laughing at me!”
“Mother, I love you!”
I feel so sleepy.