Thumb Wrestling

My pen poises over my mother-in-law’s birthday card. My mind has lost touch. What is the date? I spy it on the calendar, June eleventh. “Dear…” What is her name?

Where is her name in my mind? I roam the emptiness looking in each memory, the farm, my wedding, sixty yellow anniversary roses. I know her face, her hug and her handwritten letters. Oh, where, oh where is her name?

Panic rises in my chest. My throat closes. My mind scurried about, here and there. My body stills, I dare not move. Her name is not here, or there, or anywhere. I bite my lip – hard. The first small, hot wet tear runs down my cheek. What’s happening?

Grandmother lost her way in diabetes and asked daily,

“What time is it?” “What day is it?” “When will Frank be home?

Mother lost her way in emphysema and asked daily,

“When will Billy come? “Where is Barbara?”

My road is arched over with branches heavy with leaves, a long dark tunnel to a thin, white light. Someone is in the shadows. “Who are you?” I ask the bear of a man. His soft, light blue eyes look confused and hurt. His tongue lost for a response.

“I am your Prince of many years. Remember our Renaissance wedding? Mountain streams filled with fish? Delights with our kids? Delights of the night?”

My tongue is still.

His rough, callused thumb wrestles my thin, boney finger. I lose to his paw. This feels familiar.

I like it.

​Story inspirations and ideas are my own. Thus, positive reactions are welcome. Criticism not.