And think I should call my mother and tell her that I’m going jail – no doubt about that – but remember that she can’t remember a thing.
“When I was a kid…” Davis trailed off. “I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and I pulled down my underwear, and saw this brown stain. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I was six or something, come on. I knew I shouldn’t have done it. And I felt so bad. You have no idea. I didn’t want my mother to see. I pulled them back up. I wanted to wash them out, but I didn’t know how to do that. I changed out of them and went down to the laundry room. I was going to stuff them in the bottom of the laundry basket, and she was there, like this terrible magic. “‘What are you doing? You have to get ready for bed.’ I froze. I couldn’t even bend my knees. And she saw. She didn’t say anything. Nothing. She just looked at the stain. And then she left. She never said anything. I couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to go down for breakfast. I wanted until the last possible minute, hoping she wouldn’t be there. But she was. And still, she said nothing. And I went to school. She wasn’t the same with me after that. Or maybe it was me. She didn’t kiss me goodnight.” He stood up abruptly, looking like he needed to get sober. “Anyone need a drink? I need a drink.”
My mother and I were never the best of companions. She had certain expectations of me which I never fulfilled, and I was demanding, stupid and selfish. In short, she wasn’t the best at mothering and neither was I at being mothered. This said, I always had great respect for her sharp mind and nature, both of which she has now lost.
She has devolved into an acquiescent woman with little to say because she can’t remember much of anything beyond the weather and my name. And as difficult as the process is, it’s not like I can’t cope; it’s just that I dislike watching the installments.She didn’t want to die like this; she was most emphatic about that. But that’s what happens when you beat cancer twice. The worst things get you in the end.
I put my hand on her shoulder and she held it there. I was comfortable with her like that, the first time in our lives. She was 90.
The nurse arrived, her shadow over our legs. “Don’t get her crying now.”
She helped my mother stand and we walked with her back to the car.