My mom is a hoarder. We have to weave and bob our way through her livingroom. Boxes piled higher than my baby sister is tall. A hair dryer that overheats, faded plastic flower wreaths, letters from an artist lover who moved to Italy. Remnants of mom’s life in the 70’s and 80’s.
She has MS and she can’t throw anything out. She screamed so loud once when I tried to sneak a beige pair of 80’s pants and a digital thermometer that wouldn’t beep into the trash that the neighbors heard and ran to check on us. The neighbors know how sick she is. They’re just waiting.
We’re all just waiting.
Everything my mom owns reminds her of the time before the disease. A broken, dusty fondue pot with the original forks makes her smile and sigh, but smile, nonetheless. She is always tired. And her leg, arm, or a side of her face is numb at any given moment.
I complain about pickles on my burger or a scratch on my car and she can’t fucking feel her face. My mom puts up with the fact that I’m 21 with a tight, satiny stripper’s body and that I repeatedly call people who are 40+ “old fucks.” I still think of her as 36.
She won’t cut her hair either because eleven years ago she had chemo treatments and all of it fell out. Now, it’s as long as her pain is deep
and twice as beautiful.
published 12 April 2013