Daddy says Mommy is dreaming good dreams. She doesn’t sleep at home anymore. Daddy says it’s better that way. That she’s more comfortable in her bed at the hospital, but I don’t see how she can be comfortable there. The bed rolls around and only has one pillow.
I go visit her every Wednesday and Saturday with Daddy. She never moves. She’s always frowning and sad looking, and her hair doesn’t look like hair anymore. It’s like the spaghetti she used to make for me. But before she puts it in the pot. The kind you can break into pieces and nibble on. Mommy looks like herself but more wrinkly like one of those soggy, gray rats Roscoe brings in from the backyard. But I tell Mommy she’s still pretty. Tell her she’s still my favorite. Daddy says she can hear me, she’s just too tired to open her eyes.
When Daddy goes outside to talk to the nurses I always whisper to Mommy that Daddy makes me eat food that comes frozen and in a box. Or that Daddy can’t tuck me in right. Or that Daddy likes to yell things, sometimes at me, sometimes at nobody at all. I try holding her hand through all the tubes that look like pipe cleaners sticking and twisting into her skin. I try rubbing her fingers until they’re warm, tell her I’ll bring her soup for when she’s awake again. And some gloves too. There’s this big screen that looks like a TV next to the rolly bed. It has all these little buttons all over and makes noise like it’s honking or it’s hungry. Sometimes it growls like it’s mad. I once asked a nurse if she could take it away because all the beeping is probably scaring Mommy. I also asked if she could take away all the wires because they make Mommy look like she’s an alien. I don’t like them. Not one bit. There’s even one stuck up her nose that makes her chest puff up and sink down, and it sounds like she’s always trying to blow into a tissue. Like she’s in a huff.
Daddy has this lady over a lot. I call her Red Lips and she calls me “kid.” He tells me to sit at the kitchen table and eat my SpaghettiOs or my Oreos and to be a good angel and to stay there. So I do. Even after I lick the spoon over and over until all the meat sauce is gone, I stay until he comes back downstairs. Red Lips never really looks at me. She tells Daddy I’m too young to be sitting by myself and why can’t I just stay at Granny’s? Daddy always gets serious with her and tells her to shut up. Red Lips comes to the house even after Daddy’s mean to her.
Once Red Lips came with us. To visit Mommy I mean. Her tall, pointy shoes were all clank-clanky and her lips were bright and sort of puckered. I tugged at her coat and asked her if she thought Mommy was going to wake up. She nodded a little. But didn’t say much. She wouldn’t even look at Mommy. Her face was all twisted, and she was holding onto Daddy like she couldn’t stand on her own.
“I’m five today,” I tell her.
“You poor, poor thing,” she says.