Going there – yes, I’m going there

Two years ago, this wasn’t a Saturday, but a Thursday.
Around 5:30 p.m. on that Thursday I took my leave from Mama sleeping in her hospice bed. Thinking how pale she looked. How small. I whispered good-bye. Not see-you-soon.
I walked through the dark city, stopping in a new-agey store where I bought a little plastic Buddha – a slim red-robed fellow with golden skin and very long earlobes.
He’s sitting right here by my typing hands now. The even pleats of his robe are soothing. The upturned golden soles and toes in his lap suggest he has flat feet and a flawless lotus position.
I put him in my pocket.
I took him to the movies. I needed a place to go where I could cry unseen. I watched The Descendants. I knew the movie-mother would die. Just as I knew that my mother, who’d rather have been watching the movie with me, would die very soon, too.
So soon – my gut started churning with fear and foreknowledge.
After the movie I called the hospice to ask if I should come back. The nurse told me: “She just wants to pull the blanket over her head.”
That seemed to be saying: “Don’t bother me!”
She’d never wanted anyone to stay at the hospice overnight.
So I took the train home.
It was late. It was dark. I called Artie to tell him I felt so alone. I fell asleep with the phone beside me.
In the earliest dawn: I hit the alarm three times before realizing it was the phone ringing.
A man from the hospice told me Mama was changing, calming, to come if I wanted to be there.
I went back into the city with the early birds.
There was that Friday feeling on the train: Tomorrow we won’t be here. Tomorrow we’re not working. Tomorrow we’re sleeping in.
They didn’t know that this train would never again be taken – this landscape never again be seen – by one lovely lady from postwar Berlin.

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