And the Winner Is…
August 25, 2012
The winning slippers:
If you read Roses Are Red, Shoes Are Black, you probably noticed that Alice likes bows on her toes. So naturally she loved this furry-lined pair of Jellypops much more:
However, a bunion on her left foot protested.
“Oh me oh my,” she said, reluctantly placing the slippers with the velvet trim back into the box.
She shoehorned herself into her regular black shoes, and off we went to…
Congratulations to Sandra de Helen, who was the first to guess thrift shopping would be Alice’s heart’s desire on her birthday. (Sandra please e-mail your address to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you a copy of the shoe book.)
Thanks to all who played the game. If only Alice and I could have visited some of the exotic locations you mentioned: Target, Starbucks, the Dollar Tree. And more adventurous (dream on): the ocean, the Rose Garden, my houseboat.
But nothing perks Alice up more than the lure of good clothing, “lightly worn,” as they say, with a price tag of $4.99.
She found a sweater and blouse. We followed this up with a trip to the bank to deposit a check.
I noticed, not for the first time, that she has become confused about money. She wanted to know her balance. I told her.
A few minutes later she quoted a number that had nothing to do with the balance, but she insisted it was the number I’d given her, and she got angry defending it. Once again, I told her the correct balance. We drove on.
Before we got too far, she made the mistake again.
She’s been having what she calls “spells” lately. (See Farewell.) She becomes light-headed, warm in the extremities, and confused. She has a harder time now than ever before when she tries to remember names, dates, what she was about to say. A week ago she told me she’d forgotten where to put the date on the weekly check she writes to the beauty salon at The Place.
When she got the balance wrong for the third time, I pulled into a grocery store parking lot, stopped the car, and asked her if she felt okay. “What’s the matter?”
She wasn’t having a spell. “I’m old,” she said, half smiling.
In some future time, I will remember how we then looked into each other’s eyes in that parking lot. She broke the look with a little laugh, and I wish I had squeezed her hand. I’ll remember that I didn’t, that I tried to laugh with her, started the car again, and drove on.
She wanted some tempura shrimp, vegetables, and rice from the worst Asian restaurant in the area, perhaps in the city, a place she considers terribly expensive because this meal costs $8. “We shouldn’t go there,” she said when I pulled up in front of the restaurant. “It costs too much.”
“It’s your birthday,” I said. “You can have whatever you want.”
“It’s my birthday,” she repeated. She straightened up and smiled.
Back at The Place, she quite happily ate the tasteless shrimp. She tried to dip a piece into the cup of soy sauce, but it dripped all over, so then she thought it might be interesting to drink the soy sauce. She took a sip and made a face. “No,” she said. “Yik!”
I tucked the other gifts I’d brought her into cupboards and drawers, folded the clothes from Goodwill, and placed them on her bed so she could try them on later. I kissed her good-bye and held her close. Then I cried all the way home.
But this morning she called, fresh and excited. All the tops fit! A miracle! She could hardly decide which one to wear to the dining room for lunch. “The rose-colored one is charming,” she said, referring to a sweater Kathy and I found at Macy’s. “It has a nice shape, but I’m afraid the neck is too low. The Dapper Man might come by my table and notice that my skin is so dry there. Sometimes it flakes.”
“Check out the skin on his neck,” I suggested.
A disbelieving laugh. Whoever heard of such a crazy thing? Checking a man’s skin on his neck! “Oh…,” she said. “YOU!”
Little moments. It’s always been true, but comes a time when we know with the fullest heart that’s all we get.