Lunch At That Place

She felt herself slipping away. Nerves frazzled. Lashing out. Pieces of herself seemed to be missing. She couldn’t remember where she used to live – she just knew this wasn’t it. She remembered taking the train to work, having a nice big desk with an ink blotter. She wore hats to church. And gloves too. Now she was in some kind of housedress, sitting in a room with people she didn’t know. Well, maybe that one over there. She looked familiar. It’s like being inside a Chinese puzzle box. But just your head. Someone gave her a poetry book today. Or yesterday? “You will love again the stranger who was yourself.” She got that. Her body was a stranger attached to legs. Her brain was across the room in the orange sherbet jello mold. Those cream cheese curds. I’m the stranger. To you and me.

forgetfulness-63624_1280

Prosery written today for dVerse where Kim is hosting. Prosey is a new form for dVerse and prompts appear every second or third Monday. We are given a line from a poem, in this case “You will love again the stranger who was yourself” from Derek Walcott’s poem Love After Love. We must include the exact line in a story (prose) of 144 words or less. Photo from Pixabay.com

46 thoughts on “Lunch At That Place

  1. kanzensakura August 19, 2019 / 3:04 pm

    The last year I kept watching pieces of my mother falling away. this broke my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:50 pm

      It is heart wrenching to watch….and I can’t imagine the feeling on the other side when there is still a sense of experiencing that which around them and fleeting moments of recognition.

      Like

      • kanzensakura August 20, 2019 / 5:08 pm

        It is hard, so hard watching it. Sometimes she would look lost, other times she was remembering, other times, she asked about my where my father or her parents were and why they hadn’t been to visit her. It was so so very hard.

        Like

  2. Linda Lee Lyberg August 19, 2019 / 3:11 pm

    Lillian- this is such an apt way to describe what happens. Although my mother never forgot me or my husband, she was slipping away from others. Such a sad time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:51 pm

      To lose a loved one when you can still see them in front of you….and to be the loved one feeling reality shift and change in front of you and being unable in moments to understand and grasp what is real and what is not. It is a slipping away on both sides.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kim881 August 19, 2019 / 3:11 pm

    Your prose gave me goosebumps, Lill. It could be me writing about my mum. The phrase ‘pieces of herself seemed to be missing’ is spot on, and the lashing out. There were other things too, like inappropriate language and behaviour as it progressed, but everything in your piece is familiar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:53 pm

      I hesitate to “like” your reply….there just is nothing to “like” about the insidious slipping and losing that happens with this disease. On both the ones who remain in the real world, and those who begin to lose their grasp with what was, is, maybe is.

      Like

      • kim881 August 20, 2019 / 5:12 pm

        I am amazed at the different manifestations of dementia. My mother and grandfather both became aggressive, the opposite of how they were before, while other people in the home she was in were silent, rarely spoke, stared or made no eye contact at all. It’s an unpredictable disease, apart from the memory loss, although my grandfather thought I was his sister, but Mum knew who I was right to the end, she just couldn’t remember my name.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lillian August 20, 2019 / 6:19 pm

        For me, when my
        mom lashed out, I felt like the back of an upholstered couch when a cat is sharpening its claws and shredding it…and you never knew when it was coming so you were rarely prepared with that thick skin yoy wanted to wear to protect yourself. .

        Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 August 21, 2019 / 2:08 am

        Your analogy is spot on, Lill.

        Like

  4. Victoria C. Slotto August 19, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    So close to home: my life’s work and now it’s sneaking up on me. Beautifully expressed with such sensitivity. Liked especially the jello metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:54 pm

      Thank you, Victoria. I appreciate your reply here…..the jello is wiggly….like the memories and vision of this person…and the crematese curds that used to sit as lumps in the orange sherbet dish my mom made so often….seemed to be such an apt description.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Candace August 19, 2019 / 3:46 pm

    This speaks loudly to the dilemma of dementia. Well put!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. msjadeli August 19, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    Where she can remember her former life and her confusion at sitting in a housedress in a room of people she didn’t know is so poignant to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:55 pm

      For me, it’s the word “housedress” — it comes from a former time…just as her memory is flitting back there and not grasping the here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Carol J Forrester August 19, 2019 / 4:10 pm

    This brings up a lot of memories and emotions for me, but I think you’ve written such a calmly powerful piece. Those first four lines made me want to wail, and took me straight into the nursing home room with my grandmother as she tried to make sense of what was going on. Wonderfully crafted writing.

    Like

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you, Carol. Thank you so much.

      Like

  8. gillena cox August 19, 2019 / 4:25 pm

    This is such a vivid heartfelt write

    Much❤✏❤love

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Frank J. Tassone August 19, 2019 / 4:31 pm

    A heartbreaking story. What do we do when our last treasure, our memory, slips away from us?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      And I think…..the idea of it slipping away….piece by piece so we know and remember this and not that….

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beverly Crawford August 19, 2019 / 5:11 pm

    Oh, Lillian, this tugged my heartstrings. I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s (the long goodbye) and you’ve captured it so well here. Beautiful.

    Like

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:58 pm

      “The long goodbye” such apt words, yes? On the part of the person who begins to feel themselves getting mixed up….and for the family that must watch as the person they love stays present, but is not.

      Like

  11. The Abject Muse August 19, 2019 / 6:06 pm

    Heartbreaking subject matter yet you write with grace and tenderness. This is a lovely piece. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you for your comment here. Truly appreciated.

      Like

  12. adda August 19, 2019 / 6:14 pm

    Such a wonderful piece of art! I was so touched by it I cried. ❤

    Like

  13. Glenn A. Buttkus August 19, 2019 / 6:56 pm

    Heartfelt, yet hard-hitting; that existential Kafka nightmare awaits too many of us. Even staying as active as I do, mentally, my senior moments breed like sliverfish in quiet drawers and dark closets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 5:00 pm

      ah you’ve written something profound here, my friend…for those who know that silverfish dart in and out…just as reality does when one first begins to suffer from this insidious disease.,,,and as time goes on, the wake they leave is more of an abyss.

      Like

  14. robtkistner August 19, 2019 / 9:24 pm

    Lillian, this was touching, but certainly down the emotional rabbit hole. I took us up on a sunny mountain, to sit listening to a murmuring mountain stream, celebrating nature. Come join me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 5:01 pm

      I LOVED your response to this prompt Rob. That area of the country is truly beautiful!

      Like

  15. Mary (tqhousecat) August 20, 2019 / 8:56 am

    So sad, so lovely…how can it be both, but it is. May our words bring beauty to the surface of the devastating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 5:01 pm

      What a wonderful response you’ve written here, Mary. Thank you.

      Like

  16. rothpoetry August 20, 2019 / 11:32 am

    Losing contact with who you once were must be an awful feeling! Your story expressed it well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 5:02 pm

      Yes….that slipping…almost like the earth’s plates in an earthquake…they slip and rumble and leave cracks and realignments…and with this insidious disease, there is finally an abyss.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rothpoetry August 20, 2019 / 6:49 pm

        It is very sad indeed!

        Like

  17. memadtwo August 20, 2019 / 12:59 pm

    My mother spent 7 years in that land. it’s like a permanent nightmare. You’ve described it well. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 5:03 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss…….and the slowness of it……it is hell for those in it, on both sides.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 20, 2019 / 1:57 pm

    Oh yes… exactly like I imagine my mother feeling like during the last part of her life. Love the way she sees herself from the outside, like a stranger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 20, 2019 / 5:04 pm

      I was so sorry to hear of your mother’s struggles and your loss. I think dementia must be so so wrenching as it is happening to the one experiencing it….and then for those who must watch as the person stays there…but is not.

      Like

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