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February 16, 2015 / austreberto

around the block

around the block

on the days when the grip of my grandmother’s dementia tightened to white knuckles
she began to live beyond the limitations of the four walls inside of the nursing home that was her home away from home but it wasn’t home

every saturday
i would ask her
grandma
where have you been this week

her answer flowed freely every time
as there were no rehearsals behind her conviction
mentally experiencing the lies that she concocted

to the bakery down the road that had her favorite sweets

the walks she would take despite behind wheelchair bound
and she went to physical therapy every week

the house she helped build during the depression

to that fancy restaurant that was a welcomed break from the usual garbage she would choke down from the kitchen even though she ate there for every meal
but this time it was delicious

and the farm where she raised her family when her husband came back from the war

you see
she saw every face from her past with such sincerity and clarity

how she fell in love with her husband eighteen years after his passing
lacking the ability to let go
convinced he was still around

dementia’s grip tightened even more

though in her defense
the janitor has a striking resemblance of him
if you shave off twenty years

on the lonely days when she believed no one visited her
seven days equaling eons to her
that moment when you walked into the room and back into her life
finally
she would throw up her arms
and deliver a level of guilt that only a grandmother could give
the kind that was well practiced
perfected after decades
and say
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN

and you so badly want to tell her that you saw her last week
just like you always do and always will
a promise you made without telling her
and you would never break it
because it would break her if you did
when it only showed how much she missed you and loved you
the way only a grandmother could
the kind that wasn’t practiced because it came natural
no rehearsals
you’d say
i’ve been everywhere

now tell me grandma
where have you been this week

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