Mom came into the room with a bunch of bags (containing the usual - lightly used paper towels, lunch Tupperware and crusty bowls, crumpled magazine clippings, starchy crumbs, bobby pins, coins, Asian seed/tea/powdered grain drink mixes, Taiwanese newspaper articles, medical billing papers, cash in recycled envelopes, scribbled doodles and scraps of paper, a hairbrush or two, knitting stitch markers, receipts, stray hairs, paper clips, powder that had fallen out of the drink mix packets, assorted make-up from Target, lotion and maybe a dead gnat).
She noticed a package on the kitchen table.
“Something I can eat?”
“UPS pouches,” I replied.
She looked disenchanted.
“Nothing I can eat?”
“You’re welcome to eat them.”“Bad child,” Mom said, and went upstairs.
Two orange tabby brothers followed us home in December. They lived with us for five weeks, snuggling, wrestling, running around like madmen and punching each other in the face, until their owners saw our “found” signs (which had been posted in front of their house for weeks).
Chupa misses them a ton. They shredded furniture, ate Kolinsky brushes and laptop screens, farted intense farts on our laps, pawed wet paintings and shoved my brush around whenever I painted, but they were cute and soft fuzzballs.
Several years ago, Mom and I visited Japan during cherry blossom season. While there, Mom found out that her mom had cancer and was awaiting surgery in the hospital.
That night, Mom lay on the bed in our room at the ryokan. “Emmie, my mom is sick . . . what if I lose her?” she asked.
I tried to think of something kind and comforting to say.“Well, she is 86,” I said.