Back on the 14th I wrote about a woman who didn’t care who was watching her elderly mother overnight as long as she didn’t have to bother with it. Since then I’ve talked to a friend who said, “Maybe the mother was abusive and that was the daughter’s way of giving that back.”
I said, “Maybe. But that would be pretty sad. I don’t think I could do it because I’m not that kind of person. No matter how crappy someone is to me, I always seem to give them chances. I’m not good at being mean to someone just because they were mean to me.”
I would arrive around 9:30 p.m. Mrs. K would let me in and lock the door behind me and hide the key. We’d watch TV for a while. She couldn’t handle the news, so we mostly watched Letterman, but she had to catch the weather. If she accidentally saw some news, she grimaced and groaned and changed the channel fast. I had been at school and work all day long, so I was always beat and did a little homework to try to stay awake.
Then it was time to make her breakfast for the next day. She thought she was allergic to the Freon in the fridge, so she’d stand on the fringe of the kitchen and give me orders. One hard-boiled egg in melamine bowl with melamine dish on top. Put in fridge. One slice of cheese on top of that. Five prunes (pronounced “pwunes” by her) in a bowl with a dish on top. Then maybe some odd jobs like changing a light bulb or taking out the trash, all with very specific instructions. There was no small talk. I was merely “the help.”
The bedtime routine started after 11 p.m. She’d go to her cash box and give me $25. She’d hop my case for wearing something she could smell, like deodorant or hair spray. I had to stay awake while she got ready for bed and I couldn’t turn out my light until she turned out hers. I woke around 6 a.m. to get to school and work. I had to wake her in a certain way so she’d get up and unlock the front door for me. I always worried she’d die in the night and I wouldn’t be able to get out of the house in time to get to school.
So yeah, she was kind of a pain in the butt (and I know I’m forgetting lots of annoying little things), but she was still somebody’s mother and a human being, so I just dealt with it for a few months. She died a few months after that.