A Mother and a Daughter

I walk around holding my chicken sandwich,

and a diet coke while I search for an open seat

in the crowded Perimeter Mall food Court.

I spy a grey-haired woman sitting at a table

for two with an open seat. "I hope you don't

mind if I scoot myself in here,"I say.

"Not at all," she says as I sit down and

eat my sandwich. "Did you find bargains?"

the woman asks. "Well, I bought Nike's

on sale," I say wondering how I could

buy running shoes with Mother lying there

dying at St. Joseph's, just down the road.

The woman pulls a fabric sample from

from her purse. She describes her new

retirement condo and the home she just left.

She talks about her three children who live

far away, in three different states.

I tell her how my Mother can still squeeze

my hand, but cannot speak or swallow -

how she sits in the bed arched over

a mound of pillows so she can breathe.

The woman sits quietly and listenes.

She hears about the months I nursed

Mother while the cancer feasted

on her body. How I want it all to end

and I do not want it to end. I stand up,

anxious to return to the hospital.

"You are about my daughter's age,"

the woman saays. "I feel like I had l

lunch with her today" She smiles.

"I enjoyed our visit," I say, then

hurry back, latch onto her frail hand.

Lisbeth Thom

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