Now that I am old and very alone I bought one place setting of five different sets of china. I use them as my everyday dishes because there is nothing to wait for at my age of ninety-three. We never had good china when I was younger and so I bought it for myself. To live another day and wake up in the morning is an occassion. I have no rules now, I sleep all day if I want to, in my comfortable old bed that has shaped around my body like clay. I have an old, worn blanket that used to be pink but now it is a little pink and a little gray from age.
I stopped looking at clocks because time does not matter now. If I am hungry, I eat. Sometimes I don’t remember if I ate lunch or breakfast. The phone rings and I try to pick it up but the buttons and numbers confuse me. I don’t always like to answer the phone but I do most times. If I don’t answer it will ring again and again with loud noises that do not stop.
If it is sunny I will sit on my front porch that is painted white. The porch swing barely moves anymore but I like that. Sometimes I sit outside and watch the people on the street. I drink my apple juice there and when the sun hits the glass I can see rainbows sometimes, I always liked rainbows.
The days don’t feel very long at all now. There are days that melt into each other like chocolate pudding. My daughter always liked chocolate the best as did my late husband but I like vanilla. Vanilla is smooth and light and sweet; my son likes vanilla better too. When I was young I used to call myself “The Vanilla Girl.”
I would not say I am a happy person but I am not sad; I am still. I am like a painting that hangs on the wall. Life without my husband is not a life that I can get used to. I speak to him all the time and I answer for him too. Many things I say, I say out loud. Nobody is here to tell me not to.
Today I got dressed and I wore a blouse the color of a rose; it has a few stains on it but I don’t mind. My knarled, old feet are always barefoot and I remember walking on the beach with my family many years ago and how my toes loved the sand. I wear only clothes that are big on me because I never liked things that were tight. Sometimes I wear a nightgown all day long that my great grand-daughter sent me. It is my favorite thing to wear because it has yellow and blue flowers all over it and because it is from her. Who could have imagined me alive long enough that I would be a great grandmother. It isn’t the same since Grandpa passed on.
Nobody seems to understand. When my children visit they say I should be “happy” and I try. They don’t know how it feels when they leave. I love the visits from my family once in awhile but I feel the pain of missing Grandpa worse. There is a sharper pain and it takes a long time for it to go away; it is different from the pains and aches that I have all the time. I get sad and then later on I feel better because I am alone and I don’t have to smile if I don’t want to.
Later I will watch television from my bed. I never turn the television off. I like to have some noise in the background to keep me company. At first the kids didn’t want me to live here alone but this is my home and so I will die here too; surrounded by all my photographs.
I will eat something when I want like cheese and the inside of the bread that I used to call “cotton” when I was a young girl. I will spread that with butter that is not cold or warm but comes in a tub; I don’t need to have four sticks of hard butter. I haven’t baked banana bread for many years now.
I am not a mean woman but I am not a kind one either. I am really nothing but I was somebody once. I was a wife to my beloved husband and a mother to our two children; we first had a boy and then we had a girl. Everyone used to say “it was the best of both worlds” and yes, that is really what it was. When I go to sleep I will try to remember a memory but they come and go and then I forget what I was thinking about. That is alright, because that is what happens.
When I wake up in the morning, I will say hello to my dogs and they will kiss my face, and I will drink Ovaltine in a my very favorite mug that has hearts and the word LOVE written on it. I will go on with the day again, and I will sit outside with my dogs and just be.