Her voice as a 75-year-old woman is shriveled. Smaller. Crouched on the floor. She says nothing of import. She hears nothing of consequence. She eats. She sleeps. She ambles.
I am aware of her through my niece’s routine—preparing her meals and taking her on walks. I am reminded often that her old age care costs lots of money. But I take these tidbits of news and stack them on a high shelf amongst the tattered memories of childhood I prefer not to peruse too often.
She takes up space in a tiny corner of my mind. It’s small but goddammit, still there. I am grown. I am mostly whole again. I am tethered to this frail time in my life that has ironically made me strong.
My mother hovers over me, a ghosted memory wrapped around a fragile-bodied woman still existing in my family orbit—distant as they are. They are alien—unknown to me but certain in their invasion of my world.