Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Two of Us

The foul steam from the subway swirled around me like an invisible ribbon. I stood on the sidewalk staring up at a building I hadn’t seen in over fifty years. Memories stirred as I glanced at the entrance then slowly lifted my eyes, counting to the seventh floor where one summer day a young couple brought a baby girl . . . me.

Living on the seventh floor can be very exciting to a child. I remember the feeling I had of living much closer to the clouds than the ground. There in the clouds, our apartment, with its pale green kitchen tile, lacked the luster of a big city apartment.

As soon as I became old enough to walk (or "toddle" as Mom would say) she and I would take sunny strolls around our neighborhood. The sidewalks, cracked from winters past, allowed dainty flowers to peek up at us as we passed over them.

Mom’s head was always bent to watch my every step as she held tight to my hand. My little arm extended as far up as I could reach.  When it began to drizzle she would cuddle me to her chest, my head pressed against her shoulder as she hurried to find shelter from the coming rain, shielding me although she endured the bullets of water.

This protection continued as I grew older. We moved to another state and making new friends was difficult. In my moments of utter gloom and despair, Mom would take me out for ice cream. For us this was always a special treat. She invariably ordered chocolate while I took advantage of sampling all the favors within my reach. 

It was on these outings that we truly bonded, discussing everything from friends and family to theatre openings and the newest films, all the while knitting situations and ideas into patterns for our future.

As the years rolled by our future became our present and it was my turn to play the part of parent to Mom.  Sunny strolls on the side walks are less now for her steps are slower and often she is confined to her wheelchair. My hands are the ones reaching down to hold her up. Instead of a city apartment she now resides in an assisted-living home.

Although our roles are now reversed, we still have our ice cream outings, still talk about friends and family, review old movies, and embrace dreams for the future.

I smile and remember our life as I gaze up at the old building from seven stories below--on a brand new sidewalk.

(I started writing this piece before my mother passed away.)
This piece by LSB (PoetryWings)

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