Dancing in the Aisles
Ellie Abrams has got her hands full – groceries, her baby Haviva and her mom somewhere in the aisles of Whole Foods. Zipporah Abrams has been wandering off a lot lately and this is a particularly bad time – the baby needs her diaper changed and the doctor’s appointment is in ten minutes.
“Come on Havvy. Grandma will be fine. Let’s get you cleaned up.”
Ellie hasn’t told her mom what kind of doctor they’re going to see; getting tested for dementia isn’t like getting a mammogram. Hopefully Zip won’t ask and even if she does, Ellie might need to lie. It’s OK to lie to your mom is your mom probably won’t remember you lied, right?
After a long struggle and a couple of wasted diapers, Ellie picks up a clean, happy Haviva, walks out of the Whole Foods bathroom and right into a woman waiting two feet from the door.
“What the hell were you doing in there? I’ve been standing here for fucking ever! Do you even realize there are other people in this world? People with bladders? Jesus FUCKING Christ, lady.”
The woman stomps past Ellie and slams the bathroom door. Ellie’s body constricts with fury, Haviva feels it and starts to scream. Ellie is louder, “You b…” The “…itch!” is lost in the sound of glass breaking.
Everyone, even Haviva, freezes, eyes toward the front of the store. Two bodies slowly roll on the floor in a field of broken glass. There’s a moment of eerie silence until the bodies roll over again and Ellie sees her mother’s long white hair.
Ellie runs, squeezing a howling Haviva to her hip.
A large woman wearing a Whole Foods apron takes the baby as Ellie gets Zip to her feet. A couple of other cashiers pick up the young, raggedly dressed man Zip was clutching. Zip’s hand is cut but she’s neither seriously hurt nor upset. She shakes off her daughter and walks up to the stunned young man. “Damn, you can dance! Spin me round the floor, baby! Hell, I haven’t felt this sexy in years.”
When the EMTs have put on a few bandages and the police have finished questioning everyone and the glass is swept up and the windows boarded, Whole Foods gets back to normal and Ellie gets her baby and mother into the car. “You were dancing with a homeless guy and accidentally fell through the front of the store? Seriously, Mom?! Seriously?”
“He was really cute. And a good dancer. He has the music in him.”
“You fell through a plate glass window, Mom.”
“His foot got caught in my dress, I think. Could’a happened to anyone.”
“What were you doing outside in the first place? I told you to stay in the store because we have to get to the doctor’s!”
The edge in Ellie’s voice sets Haviva off again. “Mom, put the binky back in the baby’s mouth, OK?” Amazingly, Zip does what her daughter asks and Haviva sucks for a few minutes before falling asleep, exhausted by the commotion. Ellie concentrates on driving. Zip goes through the groceries, finds a raw potato and chews contentedly.
A Mother’s Hands
A young woman is leading a man in his 80s, probably her grandpa, out of the doctor’s office when the trio arrives. Haviva is asleep in her carrier and Zip is over an hour late for her appointment. Miraculously, a nurse ushers them right into an examining room and, a few minutes later, a tall doctor with salt and pepper hair and soap opera good looks sweeps in. “Good afternoon. You must be Zip! Welcome, welcome! I’m Dr. Luke Eckert.” He reaches out his right hand, which Zip kisses, holding it with her bandaged fingers. The doctor smiles, “What happened to your hand?” Zip looks into his eyes, ignoring the question. “Thank you for seeing me, Doctor. Thank you.” Dr. Eckert carefully extracts himself from Zip, greets Ellie and makes quiet cooing noises at the sleeping baby before parking himself in front of the computer. “So, Ellie, tell me about your mother’s hand.”
While the doctor types, Ellie recounts the story, with interjections from Zip about how cute the young man was and what a good dancer he turned out to be. When they finish, Dr. Eckert looks up and says, “Well, I was going to do some neuropsychological testing to assess reasoning skills but that might not be necessary.” He starts typing again as he talks, “We’ll get some blood work done before you leave today and I’ll order an MRI and PET scan. Clearly we’ve got some catching up to do if we’re going to get your mother’s condition under control.”
©2020 Jeff Raz | ISBN 978-0-9979048-3-3