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I Love My Pomegranate
by Amy Quincy

My mom’s a little ditzy. I used to think our miscommunications were my fault, because the stroke left me with a slur. Not anymore. It’s not just me. She can be spacey. And hard of hearing. Not that she’d ever admit it.

An SUV’s parked illegally in the handicapped spot at our hair salon. Mom leaves me in my wheelchair and walks in a realty office.

Oh Lord. Here we go. Inside, I see her pointing to me. She’s having words with some guy. They’re coming outside, his keys in hand.

“There was nobody here,” he says.

“We’re here now,” Mom says.

“Sorry,” the man huffs. He isn’t. I’m embarrassed, but a little proud too.

Then she blows it.

“Don’t do it again,” she says. This is too much for his ego to handle.

“Look lady. You don’t have to be so rude.”

“Rude? I’m rude?”

My hairdresser, Jill, opens the door.

“What’s going on?” she asks me over the yelling.

“Just pull me in,” I say.

Once inside, my mother plops in a swivel chair. “That guy was way out of line,” she says. “Give me a second to decompose.”

I look at my mother, then at Jill, who looks at me, confused. We burst out laughing.

“What?” Mom asks.

Jill manages, “Well, we’re all decomposing a little every day.” This only makes me laugh harder.

My mother, still puzzled, looks at us.

“You mean decompress?” I ask.

At least she’s acknowledges the problem -- this propensity to use the wrong word. She’ll substitute any word in a pinch. Last week, she confessed to walking Frankie, our Pekingese, when the name of his breed escaped her.

“What kind of dog is that?” some passerby asked.

“A Pomegranate,” said my mother, without hesitation.

Once, she called to say she’d pick me up at eight a.m. I responded I had every faith in the world she’d be on time. It’s a running joke, since she’s not exactly a morning person.

“You have every what?” she asked.



“F as in Frank,” I started to spell.

“What about Frank?”

When overnight guests visited, one friend asked if he could turn on the oven. “I’m going to make strawberry pies,” he said.

“Strawberry ties?

“No. Pies.

“Ohhh. I was going to say ...” she trailed off.

“I’m going to make strawberry pies,” he repeated. “Why would I say strawberry ties, Suzanne? That doesn’t even make sense.”

Exactly. I know if I was losing my hearing and didn’t want to admit it, my common sense would be working double time. Not so with my mother.

We went out to lunch that day after the salon. I apologized for my bad mood earlier.


“Yes, baboons, Mom. I’m apologizing for my baboons.”

She’s looking at me strangely. It’s amazing how you can want to protect someone and strangle them at the same time. But I don’t strangle her. I take a deep breath. All I need is a second to decompose.