Signs of Life . . .

Her hands hurt; she lies in bed clenching and unclenching her fists, warming them up like she warms up her car when its windshields are icy. She stretches her fingers, pulling each one until the knuckle cracks.

She checks her phone, hoping for a nice email or text then relives her memories on Facebook, starting the morning with wistful nostalgia. Her eyesight causes her to fully extend her arm so she can read her phone.  She has developed something she calls “Facebook Elbow.” Her right elbow always hurts thanks to the damn phone.

Once Facebook confirms she is reliving the same story year after year, she “hops” out of bed. By hop, I mean she slowly gets out of bed, noting her lower back pain before putting her feet on the floor, “Ow.” Her feet hurt. She hop-hobbles to the bathroom for another pee in what seems an endless stream of trips to the bathroom.

She finishes, washes up and brushes her teeth. She is frustrated; her dentist said she brushes too hard. She brushes as gently as possible yet her gum line recedes. Sigh. After brushing her traitorous teeth she looks in the magnifying glass, always turning on the light so she can ensure seeing the plethora of hairs sprouting on her chin. She attempts to pluck them, but as if to mock her, they are now turning white. They are hard to see, even harder to pull. It seems they want to live as they cling fiercely to their chin host. Though they are less visible now that they are turning white, they are still prickly and she hates that. Pluck. Pluck. Sigh.  And where did these wrinkles come from? Sigh. Better pee again, just to make sure.

She goes downstairs contemplating coffee. She has an hour and a half commute. If she has the coffee can she make it through the commute without having to use the bathroom? She decides to skip it. She hop-hobbles out to the car wondering how can her feet hurt this badly every damn day?

She’s pissed because she’s overweight and knows losing weight will help but aging makes losing that same 50 pounds harder; and in the moment, it seems easier to make bad food decisions, pop two tums and put the diet off another day. Her feet give her an extra jab as she takes a bite of her breakfast croissant. Her feet are screaming, “Eat salad you bitch. For the love of God, eat salad.” Her hearing isn’t what it used to be; she eats the croissant.

Life is a series of aches, pains and trips to the doctor who can’t seem to diagnose or fix anything. Maybe she is imagining everything; she calls a therapist.

Her father always says, “I’m not as good today as I was yesterday but I’m better than I’ll be tomorrow.” She has to agree. These are her signs of life and they definitely beat the alternative.

One thought on “Signs of Life . . .

  1. This ones my favorite so far. Not long before my sister died she said “it’s better then the alternative “. That always stuck with me.


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