‘It’s just amazing isn’t it?’
Grandma sat, still regal even in what she’d have called shortly before, a contraption for invalids. I’d chosen a bright blue one; she loved blue, like her eyes. She often told me how Grandpa had called them blue lamps. They were wide with wonderment right now, like a child’s rather than a woman of 93.
I had her parked on the concourse of the train station where we hoped to surprise her son, my uncle Nolan. I had a feeling we wouldn’t meet him, that his train would bring him in after we left, because we had to. It was cold and I didn’t want to keep Grandma out in the February chill. On top of that I had to get her to a hospital appointment. But she was loving being out.
‘So many people Daisy, with so many places to go. It’s amazing. All the colours of their clothes, and how they move. So many of them.’
I listened intently to her childlike observations that struck me as the most beautiful things to notice on that cold grey day. She was mesmerizing in her appreciation of the world just going about it’s business. Having not been anywhere besides the doctors or dentist in years I was thrilled that our secret trip was having such an effect. Gil and my father had always refused to let me take Grandma out, but I wasn’t listening any more. I was glad to be so disobedient.
As I dressed her that morning I worried it would be too much for her. But as we drove through the streets that she once knew so well but hadn’t seen since her fall two decades ago, I witnessed her find a part of herself she thought she’d lost.
We waited a while longer but I was right. Sometimes I hated that; being right. Especially now when it was connected to another feeling, that this would be the last time we’d be out together like this. I reminded her as gently as I could, so as not to break her spirit, that if we didn’t leave we wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. But Grandma was gracious and spectacularly lucid again.
‘We did our best darling; we waited for as long as we could. And that boy of mine Nolan really should have called.’
Grandma’s decline into dementia had driven her to distraction lately. Her memory had been faltering for months, depression was becoming a regular visitor and she’d ramble incoherently, sometimes making herself laugh, and sometimes making herself mad in the same conversation she was having with herself. But for these moments on the concourse Katherine was back.
My own eyes that are the same colour as hers welled up with tears that stung as I fought to keep them from running down my cheeks.
‘Don’t cry darling,’
She’d caught me completely without even looking up. She turned her face up to mine and flashed her gentle teasing smile, eyebrows raised cheekily and those eyes wide once more.
‘And anyway, isn’t it about time you gave me my lamps back?’