Monday, January 25, 2010

From Underneath an Umbrella, Underneath the Rain.

It was dementia that made me make the trip. My grandmother had a stroke or two and she was in the hospital for good. My aunt is slightly slow--she needed a ride so I picked her up in my van. We had to (illegally) park far--she used a walker to keep her balance. It was also raining sort of hard and I didn't have an umbrella. My aunt couldn't afford to catch a cold so we dodged rain drops by hiding underneath the marquees of the hospital. We were both wet, but I remember I could not stop laughing. It was hilarious. The rain was relentless and we thought we'd keep dry by taking breaks in-between steps to the door.

Our visit to the hospital was short. I always made sure they were. We said hello and goodbye; we were cordial and loving. It was painful to see someone dying. Especially someone that you love.

After a handful of visits we knew what to expect. My mother knew it, I knew it and so did my aunt. So we limited our visits to a good half-hour. We rarely if ever stood a minute later. There was really no need to. She was losing her mind; forgetting who were all the time.

Times up.

After we gave back our visitor badges at the front desk, we were back outside hiding from the rain. It picked up and we were even more soaked than before. By the time we made it back into the van, we realized we were hungry. The nearest diner was two blocks up on Broadway. I didn't want to waste the gas trying to find parking on a Sunday if it were so close, so we decided to take our chances again with the rain.

This time I bought her a cheap umbrella from a deli. It was far too small to cover us both, so I carried it over her and giggled in the rain.

We didn't say much about the hospital visit at lunch: we brought our laughter from the streets and under the marquees into this tiny diner that sold Heinekens with every meal including breakfast. When I excused myself to use the restroom I found enough stuff to fill up two sides of a guest check.

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