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THE CONVERSATION

Writing 101 , WordPress: Day 12: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon
Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-word conversation. Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

Mama and I sat at the table, eating breakfast. At 91, she knew her life was coming to a close, but concern for me, a widow, and her dog, companion for fifteen years, made it difficult to let go. I think her concern came partly from the death of my brother, her only son, a few months earlier.

“Who will take care of Rascal when I die?” she asked, offering her Rascal a bite of her peanut-butter toast.

“Oh, Mama, I will care for Rascal. I love him, too,” I answered.

After a moment’s pause, she continued, “Don’t you want to get married again? Have someone to take care of you?”

I smiled. I’d been a widow for seven years and my life was busy taking care of Mama. “No, Mama, not now. I’m fine. I really am happy the way things are.”

Mama gave Rascal another bite of toast. She looked at me again, anger flashing in her eyes. “Why did your father leave me? Why doesn’t he care enough to come back?”

I’d answered this question so many times. Daddy had passed away fifteen years ago. Now, in the last few weeks, this had become her question. They had been married almost fifty-six years. I knew that because of her dementia it wouldn’t matter what I answered; she would ask that again and again. She wouldn’t accept that he was dead. The chaplain said perhaps this was easier to think about now than his death. I tried a different answer. “Mama, he has been called to a mission. The Lord wants to use him. You’ll see him when his job is done.”

She added, still angry, “And why doesn’t Wayne come back to visit me? Doesn’t he care about me?”

“I think he will when he can. Why don’t you take your pills now? I know there are a lot of them, but the doctor says you need them.”

She complained a little about the pills, but took them.

There was a knock on the door. Our friend, Margot, was at the door. I had to go out and Margot from church had come to be with Mama while I was gone. Margot was ten years younger than Mama and in good health. She and my mother loved each other.

“Margot!” Mama exclaimed. “I’m so glad to see you.”

“Want me to turn the TV on?” I asked Margot.

My friend shook her head, smiling. “No, we always have lots to chat about.”

I cleared the table and put my shoes on. “I’ll be back in a couple hours.” Margot nodded and she and Mama sat down on the couch close together, Rascal at Mama’s feet.

I went to do what I needed to do and when I came home, they were engrossed in conversation, mostly Mama sharing the past and Margot listening.

“Thank you, Margot,” I said as she got up to leave.

Mama got up and gave her a big hug. “Come back again, please.”

Margot smiled. “I will. I love your mom,” she said as she returned Mom’s hug.

The time came where Hospice came to help with Mama’s last days. We put a hospital bed in the living room. A couple weeks before she passed away, she stopped asking what would happen to Rascal or if I wanted to get married, or why Daddy and Wayne didn’t come to see her. Rascal got sick and I took him to the vet, but we lost him. I didn’t want to tell Mama; she didn’t say much about him these days unless she saw him, which didn’t happen often because she couldn’t see him when she was lying in the hospital bed.

One day after I had taken him to the vet and he passed away, she asked, “Where is Rascal?”

“He’s sick, Mama. He’s at the vet’s.”

Finally, after her question and my answer several times, and consulting with my sister about it, I decided to tell her, expecting a very emotional response. I sat down beside her. “Mama, Rascal died. He was very sick.”

She simply wept a few tears without saying anything and never mentioned Rascal again before she died. When she lay sleeping that last week, she seemed to be holding on; my brother-in-law took her hand and said, “Your girls will be okay. You don’t have to worry about Darlene. We’ll take care of her.”

Within less than two days, Mama went home to be with Jesus. Her concerns were behind her. She was at rest at last.

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CAT AND DOG

The Writing 101 challenge for Day Seven: Give and Take
Today’s prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else. Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue.

CAT AND DOG
“What is a dog doing are?” Cat laid his ears back as he stood in the kitchen door.

From the next room, Dog tipped his head and took a step toward Cat. “My family left me here—“

“What? In my house?” growled Cat.

“What’s wrong? I’ve been here before. And I’ll only be here a couple days.” Dog took a step forward.

The hair on Cat’s back stood up. “Hold it, big fella. Stay away from me.”

“Hey, I just want to be friends,” Dog said.

“Me and you? Are you kidding? You better just out of my way. My claws are sharp and I can bite.”

“Well, if that’s the way you want it,” Dog said. He turned and went to lay down by Don’s chair. “Dumb cat. Thinks he could beat me up, does he?”

Cat watched Dog lay down. Then with watchful eyes, he made his way to Gayle’s chair on the other side of Don’s chair. He jumped up beside Gayle. For a few minutes he stood on the arm of the chair.

“Well, Miss Gayle,” he meowed. “What’s the idea of the dog?”

Gayle reached up and scratched Cat’s head between his ears and said in a soft voice, “Come on, Kittie, lay down. Don’t worry about Dog.”

“Humans sure are dumb,” Cat said. “They don’t understand a word I say. I’ve told her not to call me ‘Kittie.'” With a sigh, Cat lay down on the arm of the chair as Gayle went back to her needlepoint. “I guess I will just have to keep that Dog in line myself!”