The boxes were packed save for one room. Filled with books and mementos of the last seventy years, she wouldn’t let the movers in and insisted on packing it herself. Her children hovered as she took the books from the shelves only acknowledging them when she couldn’t reach or a book was too heavy. It took five days and when it was done she allowed her children to pack away the photos, the awards, the bric brac until there was one thing left, a silver trophy engraved with her name and branches. Her son held it up for her to see, “Mother, what about this?”
Her son, an architect and her daughter, a writer; she had raised them, proud of their accomplishments and watched their children grow to be younger versions of her children. At 93, she had long moved past her hope to connect. They lived their lives outside and away from her mainly because she refused to give up her independence. Now as her eyesight failed and her mind moved from year, to day and forgot the tea kettle on the stove, it was decided she be better off in a nursing home. How silly that term—nursing home. Given what she had seen of her friends, there was little to do with nursing and it was certainly not home. Her books would go to the library in town and she would go to the home.
“Perspicacious” she said.
Her son looked at her with concern and her daughter drew near with a shawl for her shoulders.
He moved closer to her, the trophy suddenly more alive in his hands. She took and placed it in her lap, gazing at the branches, remembering when she was twelve years old and after having spelled “perspicacious” feeling the triumph and happiness in her heart as she held the trophy in her hands for the first time. She wore a yellow dress, her hair was braided and tied with matching ribbons. Her mother stood and clapped as she stood on stage holding the trophy.
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