Here was originally published in the Winter 2018 edition of Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing.
Settled in her wheelchair, hugging a mug of black coffee close to her chest, the old woman sits in the sunshine outside of the front door, a woven blanket draped across her lap. Tendrils of steam waft toward her glasses, a small source of warmth on this September morning.
Her daughter perches on a metal bench beside her. Coffee cup in one hand, cell phone in the other, set to video mode. Her eyes flicker between the old woman on her screen to the woman herself. The soft lines and folds of her skin evidence of her 92 years, each wrinkle a remembrance of creation and adventure.
“Mom, what do you like best about being outside on a beautiful Sunday?”
Mom gazes outward, through gold-rimmed bifocals, past the parking lot of the assisted living home, past the paper birches on the horizon.
Is she remembering the bay where she painted watercolors of fishing boats? Her vine-covered home on East 7th? Maybe somewhere in the folds of her brain are the details she’s forgotten. Like all the countries she’s traveled to or the places she’s lived or the name of her daughter.
Mom brings the mug to her lips with both hands. Her daughter watches her, waits for a response as the video rolls. She thinks Mom looks content, peaceful even. She feels content too in this moment with her mother, drinking coffee together in the northern Minnesota sun.
Mom swallows, blinks into the late morning light.
“That I’m here.”