by Martin Lindauer
I plunked a stack of
magazines on the table next to moms bed in
the recuperation wing of Mt. Sinai hospital. AARP. Senior
Living. Arthritis Today. Active Aging. That
should be enough, I reasoned, for a weeks
reading during her convalescence.
Under heavily lidded and
darkly circled eyes, mom gave me a disappointed
look before she weakly pushed the pile of
magazines off to the side, using her right hand,
the one without the cast. She stared
unseeingly at the ceiling, her eyes slipping past
loops of tubes running into her nose and draped
across her chest.
Leaning closer I whispered,
Is there some other kind of reading youd
like me to get you? To get her
attention I lightly touched two fingers that
peeked out from under her bandaged arm. I
can bring them to you tomorrow. I waited
for her to say something.
She met my question with
rolling eyes and silence.
I sighed, tried to remember
the titles of magazines Id passed while
shopping at Wahlgreens or walking by the
racks of monthlies at Safeways, and asked
myself, what might interest a woman of 82 in poor
physical condition and with a housewifely range
of interests? Certainly not Vogue,
Cosmopolitan, or Glamour Magazine, I
answered with a silent laugh. Better
choices came quickly to mind. Good
Housekeeping. Ladies Home Journal. For
some obscure reason Runners World
came to mind, immediately replaced by ShopSmart. Creative
Knitting was another possibility-- when the
cast comes off.
Stumped for more ideas, I
asked mom, How about magazines on cooking
or home decoration?
She slowly turned her head
towards me and smiled weakly. Aha. A hit, I
thought happily. No need to continue to
mentally survey reading material she might find
interesting. To reassure her I said, You
dont have to read everything from cover to
cover, mom, if you dont feel like it. Just
look at the pictures. I lifted my
eyebrows to encourage her to take up my offer or
give me some hint of other kinds of magazines
that might appeal to her. I bent my head
closer to her mouth to better hear the choices
she might make. What would you like,
mom? I asked softly.
I appreciate what you
brought me, she murmured haltingly through
cracked lips. But you know what Id
really like, sweetheart?
I said eagerly. What?
A nice cup of chicken
soup would be wonderful.