(Wrote this after reading too much ice cream and getting a Virginia Woolf headache.....)
O! She was doing it again.
Mrs Johnson hurried over. The old gray lady was a gray filament of a gray soft material bent over the abyss of time as she blew bubbles in her milk with her straw.
Don't do that, honey! What have I told you about blowing bubbles? Just drink your milk!
Begorrah! Her feet ached so, and her back, and her neck. Mrs Johnson released a sigh. She narrowed her gaze at the non-existent sea, the licking froth of the waves cascading with droplets of silver fire that left delicate traces from unfolding petals that lifted from the floor of her mind. Wandering shadow brought anxiety to her mind. But why? Then she thought of her oldest son. His wrecked life. The disappointment of it all. Her middle son and his trials. And then the youngest son, mildly retarded. She sighed. But they would be all right. She had to believe that!
Flashes of memory came to her of her baby on a towel in the bedroom and how sweet and dear his face was as she folded shirts. That was her special little fellow!
Medora had a snot bubble.
Honey, honey, sit up straight. Let's finish and then get you to bed. Okay?
Gaaaah, said the gray old lady.
Time was heavy like a soft syrup on her mind, her emotions. She still had how many hours left in her day? Her being was like a wedge of shadow, not at rest but aching for stability on a mutable ground of aching tenderness that brought all her life and all her feeling to the point of this one inextricable--
No, no, no, no!
Medora was sliding from her chair, like a snake shedding its skin. The gray old dear thumped to the floor. Mrs Johnson struggled to pick the poor soul up again, straining and grimacing and groaning, but it was no use. With a sad trembling finger like a beam through the vacuous dimensions of a rude machination that sullied the rich accoutrements of memory like a sail far away at sea, she called 911.
Burly men clattered in. Firefighters. They wanted to know the emergency. With tremulous fainting vocalisation Mrs Johnson piped that she needed help getting the moulted skein of dead skin off the floor and back in her transport chair. The men heaved the old lady back. The lady screamed with joy. Or utter terror. Her mouth was open in a giant O.
Anything else? O, thank you! Thank you! The firefighters clattered away. A spreading joy warmed her lip as it trembled and left her singing the core of the universe inside her.
Off we go, dear!
They were in the bathroom. Medora screamed. She did not want to! She did not want to! But you must, said excruciating-ly patient Mrs Johnson. Now come, dear. Let go and let me get you on the toilet first.
In the bath the water rang furious and foamy with silver fingers jumping like a chorus of angelic birds, so soft and plangent! As if soothed by the heavenly warm tones, Medora suffered herself to be sat on the toilet. The poor dear was groaning. The look on her blasted face was frightening. But it had to be done.
Do you need to go? Need to go poopy? Poop? Do you need make big poopy? Medora? Poop? Do you need to make poop? Medora, honey...?
Just then Mrs Zenash came in. That big Ethiopian, wide of hip, loud of voice, shaking her great African head. Together Mrs Johnson and Mrs Zenash stood over Medora on the toilet. The water was empty. A sad silver saucer of nothing. Mrs Zenash clucked her big tongue. Her teeth were large and yellow. This won't do! The big lady knelt down and thrust her finger inside Medora's pooper.
Grrrrrrrrrrrrr, said Medora.
Not to be outdone, Mrs Johnson joined her in digging and thrusting around. Their digits punched and plucked and pumped around like blind worms fighting for that nugget of nutrient. And O!-- out it came!
That's a dear! The fragments of feces plooped into the waters. That's a dear! And then more-- globules of Vesuvius dancing in the light, falling in a swoop of great height, plop! plop! plop! Mrs Johnson was sweating a fine sweat. She sat back as Mrs Zenash took over lifting the old gray bird from the toilet to the running bath and she thought how fine the waves in the tub were, so gray and illustrious and so soft, the waters softly embracing the naked old woman, and Mrs Johnson thought (her head clunked against the sink) how grand it all was, how real and alive, and she thought to herself This is life! This is life!