A Trip To Fantasy IslandPosted: April 7, 2013
Bill and I were relaxing in the Arizona Room, reading books on our Kindles. He was into a James Patterson and I was slogging through a new Hangman’s Daughter novel. Mom was in the living room talking to a friend in Michigan. We could overhear her through the open doorway as she chatted about the usual stuff: her health, which was pretty good for the moment but possibly facing an eminent decline in the not-to-distant future; her self-imposed withdrawal from any social interaction; her sedentary – and quite satisfactory – hermit-like lifestyle; and how she broke her Humerus last fall and now she’s in a wheelchair.
We only listened with half an ear until she started talking about how she and her ex-husband, John the Nazi, parted ways over four years ago.
“You know, I think I told you before, he was starting to go bad and I just couldn’t take care of him anymore,” she began. “I told you I broke my Humerus, right? Oh, that’s right, I did. Well this was before that, but he was just getting worse.”
I looked at Bill, who had put down his Kindle to devote his full attention to the impending tale of John going bad. I guess sort of like an over ripe piece of fruit.
“It was before the kids moved here, and I just couldn’t do it anymore so I called Krissy… yes, that’s his daughter. Anyway, I called Krissy and told her to come and get him. So she did and after a few years he finally died.”
My mouth was hanging open and Bill’s eyebrows were up so high they were blending into his hairline. You see, my Mom divorced John after he squandered all of their retirement nest egg and then walked out to go live with his daughter.
“What? Oh, no he’s dead now,” she continued. “He died… wait, I wrote it down. Here, in September the year before last. I don’t know of what. Being old I guess.”
The call ended shortly after that so I wandered into the living room and sat down on the sofa.
“So, which story do you want me to tell people about John?” I asked, cocking my head to give the impress I was sincerely confused instead of genuinely appalled.
“What do you mean, which story?” she replied.
“Well do you want me to tell the truth? That you divorced John because he was a bully and a selfish ego-maniac who wasted away all of your retirement money and then left you holding the bag. Or that you got tired of him and told his daughter to take him away like he was an untrainable pound dog that you didn’t want to have to deal with anymore. Which one is it?”
“Well neither one sounds too good,” she said. “Which one do you think?”
“I think the truth is usually the best bet,” I answered.
“Okay then, say that Krissy took him away to take care of him and then he died.”
“But that isn’t the truth,” I argued.
“Yes it is, mostly, and that’s what happened,” she responded with finality.
“You know, you may not get out of the house much but you certainly have a rich fantasy life,” I snorted as I left the room.
“That’s what living for 88 years will do for you,” she answered back.
“Your 87!” I shouted.