THURSDAY: Spam

BY CATHERINE SWORD

Copyright is held by the author.

“DO YOU like the ice cap, Mom?”

She chewed the straw. I watched her face screw up as she tried to remember how to suck up a drink. Gently, I pushed her white hair out of her eyes. “I’ll have to tell the nurse you need a haircut. That’ll be better. Especially for summer.”

Her pale green eyes widen as the icy drink hit the roof of her mouth and she began to rock.

“Brain freeze, huh.” I rubbed the back of her hand, more for comfort, not warmth. “Shall I wheel you out to the garden?”

Her mouth sought out the straw. It’d been a long time since she wore that brownish red, almost maroon lipstick. It’d been a long time since she used her mouth to speak. In fact, there was a scary time it seemed her brain had forgotten how to eat and that she’d be on a totally liquid diet, but something re-routed and she was able to chew again. Although, having lost her upper teeth plate, it was mostly things of the Catholic vegetables variety, with the hell boiled outta them, and thick slices of spam. I noticed that again this was listed on the menu outside the dining hall.

“You know, Mom, if anybody from Ontario were to see your menu of spam they’d think you were being neglected.” I smiled. She drew more ice cap into her silent mouth.

“Your father,” she said and I stopped pushing her chair. I stopped breathing and she continued. “Fried.”

Then she pulled the cup to chest, spittle dribbled over her lip.

“Yes.” My eyes teared. The bee balm in front of me blurred. “He used to fry spam.”