There is no point in coming.
His hands burned with a nervous shake that couldn’t seem to leave his body. Such an insane urge to just grab the nearest chair and smash it into a million splinters, but that would get him kicked off the grounds. They would all look at him, judge him as he was forcefully pulled from his seat in the middle of the cafe.
She isn’t here yet. There is time to run.
His eyes scanned the different nurses and residents that passed by his table. Some had familiar faces, but never did he ask the name of any of them. He preferred that they stayed on the stranger side of things, keep it all simple.
It will never be simple, as long as I have to come to this place.
There came her nurse, the pretty one with green scrubs and flowers in her hair. Always so happy to be in a place that stunk of death, her shining smile within a pit of hell. She gave a soft wave as she guided his Mother over to his table for two.
“Good Morning Issac,” She chirped, pulling out a second chair.
“Hi,” Issac mumbled back, his cheeks flared up as he racked his brain for a name but came up with nothing. “Hi, Mom.”
“Who is this?” She asked the nurses while she was being seated in the same spot they had been meeting for four years.
Can she even love me if she can’t remember my face?
“It’s your son, Issac. He came by to visit you.” Issac didn’t know what to do while his own Mother squinted to read his face, as if she were trying to read the small words off a pill bottle.
“Oh, yes, my son Issac! It’s so nice of you to finally come by. You never come by and see your Mother, how terrible.” She reached out a weak arm to pinch his cheek, seeming out of breath from the short movement.
“I’m sorry, mom, I’ll try and come by more often.” Issac glanced at the nurse, her face holding the same look of remorse it held every week when she said the same things over again. Soon after she left, a waitress took her place carrying the drinks Issac had ordered.
“One black coffee and a sugar-free pumpkin spice hot chocolate.” The waitress deadpanned, spilling bits of overpriced coffee on the table before leaving. Issac wiped the coffee with a thin napkin while his Mother gasped in excitement at her drink.
“A pumpkin hot chocolate! What an exciting new drink! That cafe sure has a lot of creativity!” She praised the facility cafe for the same drink they offered every fall, but Isaac stopped correcting her months ago.
She is never going to remember. How important can I really be to her?
“I ordered it just for you. I thought you would like it.” Issac took a sip of his coffee, dissatisfying lukewarm fluid running down his throat.
“How thoughtful of you. You were always such a kind boy. You should stay for dinner. I was going to make your father’s favourite casserole.” She reaches out a hand to hold Issac's hand, the cold skin shocking him.
“That sounds nice, mom, but I have to work tonight.” He forced down a sniffle as his Mother spoke so nonchalantly about a man she cried her heart out at a funeral ten years prior. She spent sixty years of her life with the man, starting as lovers from high school with nothing but compassion till his dying moments.
Is it really that easy to forget the pain, to become oblivious to the horrors of reality?
“Thats okay. I know how hard you work. Are you keeping up in school? Studying hard for all your exams?” She asked, seemingly unfazed by the same thoughts that ran through Issac’s mind.
“The classes are hard, but I am doing okay.” Issac continued to recite class stories from a Masters he finished five years ago. All the words felt numb now, but she smiled and laughed every time, so the repetition was worth it.
Is it truly worth it? Is anything I try to do worth it?
It was the moment between the silence that hurt the most. Watching the woman who raised and cared for him struggle to remember her own life. She was supposed to be his hero. She was the one who wiped his tears whenever life got him down. Now she was the reason he cried into the night.
When it was her turn to talk, she retold old stories between sips of hot chocolate. The stories were all old, and Issac knew them by heart, but he still forced a laugh at each funny moment. She told him about the card games she played that morning, and she spoke of old neighbours when they got terrible haircuts or repainted their houses weird colours. Issac tried as hard as he could to keep his smile alive, but it wasn’t so easy to do when all he felt was betrayal from his Mother’s own memory.
Will any moment ever hold real humour again? Can I ever give an honest laugh where there is nothing more than fatal reminders?
The nurse came back around to collect her soon after her cup ran dry. A sharp pain hit his chest when she greeted the nurse by name. Serenity was a lovely name indeed, but he still wished it was his face that his Mother remembered. Her last living family member, yet a nurse was still more prominent to her.
“It’s time for your medication. We are going to have to say goodbye to Issac for now.” She looked a bit disappointed, which offered Issac the slightest reassurance.
“Will you be coming back soon to visit again?”
“Yes Mom, I’ll be back next Tuesday.” He leaned down to hug her, not wanting to let go.
I just want my Mother back, the one who could hug all my problems away.
“You go get ready for work then, and make sure you eat something before you go. You are becoming too skinny. It’s not good for you.” She pinched Issac’s cheeks one last time before slowly making her way to the elevator. Once she was out of sight, Issac made his way out of the building.
I hate this place. I hate the pain. I hate the reminder of everything I lost.
But I love my Mother more.