Say I woke up one morning in Grandma’s chair…
I’d take a look around and not see much — but I could see. I’d look at my hands; they’d be wrinkled and arthritic. I’d try to stand up, and it would feel like I’m on a different planet with double Earth’s gravity. My struggle to merely stand would tell me any activity beyond walking to the bathroom is foreign to my 88-year-old body. But I’d be alive, and I wouldn’t spend the day sitting in my chair.
The first thing I’d do once I was on my feet is make a beeline to the shower. I’d step in and turn the water on and feel instantly more alive as it flowed over me. I’d scrub my skin. I’d wash my hair. I’d get water all over my face, and it would feel wonderful. I’d step out ready to take on the day.
Once I dressed, I’d take a look at what there was to eat. The only fresh thing I’d see is a banana, which I’d eat. Still hungry, I’d head upstairs to see what’s in the fridge.
Nobody would expect me to be upstairs, and their jaws would drop when I asked what’s for breakfast. Chloe would say “Pancakes Grandma. Want some?” and I’d say yes, can I have a couple. Once they were on my plate I’d slather on some peanut butter, pour on syrup and enjoy every hot, fresh bite. I wouldn’t belch a single time during breakfast.
Once I finished eating I’d ask everyone about their plans for the day. They’d be headed to the dog park with Pickles, so I’d ask if I could come too. It would take me awhile to walk down to the park benches, but I’d make it. Once I sat down I’d spend the next few hours with the sun on my face, listening to the birds and watching the puppy run around like crazy. There’d be people talking. Dogs barking. Children squealing. I’d be scooped up in the experience of living, which would be much better than sitting in the basement with nothing but a reading lamp on dosing in and out of sleep waiting for another day to pass me by.
The uphill walk back to the car would be hard, and I’d have to stop several times to catch my breath. Eventually I’d make it to the top. We’d leave the windows open on the ride home and a hundred different smells and sounds would whiz by. There’d be movement and anticipation and choices to make about how to live the rest of the day. I’d spend time with my family and take in details about the lives that usually go on above me while I’m sitting alone in my chair.
Soon it would be lunch time, and I’d try Indian food for the first time in my life. The spices and textures would be different from what I’m used to, but their intensity would penetrate my ancient tastebuds and I’d experience flavor for the first time in a long while. Memories would flood back from times in my life when I ate something delicious or spit out the first mouthful. I’d remember fresh baked biscuits and butter straight out of the churn. And ice cream — months and years and decades full of eating cold, sweet ice cream.
In the afternoon when everyone was running errands I’d entertain myself by sitting in the garden. Despite my eyesight I’d see dozens of flowers in all shapes and colors — some ready to bloom, others losing a petal or two every time the wind rustled them. There would be birds galore flying back and forth from the feeder, and squirrels scouring the ground below for seeds the birds dropped. A few butterflies would dance around the flowers, and I ‘d even catch a hummingbird out of the corner of my eye looking for nectar in the flowering catnip that’s taken over the entire front porch. I’d breath deep and take it all in.
Later in the afternoon when everyone came home, I’d sit at the table while dinner’s being made, listening to the kids talk about school and work and boyfriends and their new favorite songs. I’d tell them about the 1950s when nobody had televisions and we all sat around listening to radio shows. They’d tell me nobody listens to radio now, instead they stream music through their computers. I’d ask them if they’d help me look for Benny Goodman streaming on the Internet, and they’d say yes.
After a delicious dinner with fresh corn, rice pilaf and some kind of fake chicken that actually tasted pretty good, I’d watch the kids play cards. There’d be a lot of rules so I’d just enjoy watching them laugh and argue over who laid their cards down first and cheer when somebody won the round.
Eventually I’d look outside and notice it’s getting dark, and I’d realize how tired I am. I’d been awake and alert all day, and I’d sleep like a rock that night. I’d tell my family I love them and head back downstairs with all the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the day whirling around in my head. I’d realize how much more alive I felt after sitting in the park, spending time in the garden and enjoying my family. I’d sit down in my chair, and Fluffy would jump on my lap. I’d dose off petting her, still thinking of everything I did that day.
The next morning Grandma would wake up and look around. She couldn’t see very well, and every ounce of inertia would be back, weighing her down. She’d decide not to bathe or go upstairs or talk with her family. She’d just sit in her chair in the dimly lit room, dosing off and waking up now and then while another day passed her by.
This post was inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt.
Image from 123 Royalty Free.