Friday, October 14, 2011

Small comforts

I woke up in the middle of the night to the pounding rain. It was trying to come in the windows and doors, trying to soak everything in the house. I smile at the sound of its familiarity. Nu'uanu sits in a tropical rain forest and even Seattle's rain torrents can't hold a candle to these incessant downpours. Even with a wake up, I smile. Being at my grandmother's house on O'ahu is like being swaddled in a blankie. I know the creaks, moans and smells of this house like none other. I am happy to be here, despite the ups and downs of Gam's moods. One day she's in a great mood, smiling, cracking jokes and laughing and even eating her meals without too much protest. But the next a complete refusal to cooperate, bossing, not eating and sour puss. Yet she still insists on talking about sex. Oh, Gam!  We played cards yesterday, on one of her better days. Dementia may have taken parts of her memory away but she is still a card shark. The cards are well worn, bent length wise so her gnarled hands can easily grasp them. She has to use her left hand as her right one is clumsy, riddled with arthritis. We play rummy, like we always do, and she sticks me with two aces in my hand when she goes out. She doesn't remember my name today. But she does tell the aides that the secret to staying young is to like men. She says it defiantly, trying to get a raise out of them, hoping that if she says just the right thing they might spring her from this joint so she can go home. But she can't go home. The sad truth is that a 95 year old woman is incapable of taking care of herself. Trying to do so is what got her into this pickle in the first place.

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