Rose Lotion Fingers and Cherry Blossom Lips

by remembertoexhale

I sit on a high chair in a busy MCcafe’
stirring my Himalayan tea, spooning off the foam
taking tiny cake forkfuls of cherry vanilla pie to my lips
half listening to my mother talking to me on my right
trying to avoid eye contact with the old lady sitting directly opposite me
she is talking Malay, a hearty conversation
with someone she is very comfortable with
at first I think she is talking to someone behind the pillar
my mother tells me she was sitting opposite her,
but moved a seat over because she was having a conversation with
“I have no idea who”
I watch as she looks to the left, nods
she parts her cherry blossom lips
squeezes her eyes shut
as she bites down on her fried chicken
savouring the taste
bobbing her right shoulder up and down as she chews
smiling with her pretty cherry blossom lips
slightly shiny from the oil
my mother informs me that my grandmother
is deteriorating
she used to sigh and make noises
rub my fathers hands in between her wrinkly rose lotion fingers
but lately the effort is too much
she carries on talking about something else
while I watch the old lady bob her right shoulder
and squeezes her eyes shut again
my mother mentions that often when someone
is very hurt by someone or something
they can’t cope and develop a second personality or friend
I think about my grandfather
I imagine him weeping because that is what he has been doing
since my grandmother’s stroke
I imagine him falling apart
and my father holding him
I watch as the old lady in front of me smiles lovingly
yes, lovingly
at the empty space beside her
and I imagine it is her husband she is talking to
her husband that is no longer there
I imagine that there is a white haired pot bellied man
with his arm around her shoulder as she bobs it up and down
and even though my grandfather weeps at the side of a hospital bed
every single day my rose grandmother lies there
her mouth open
hair not done
spittle on the corner of her mouth
the woman in front of me, perfectly groomed with an
alice band atop her smooth shiny hair
gold chain and all
she nods and smiles and bobs to her imaginary friend
and my heart aches in my chest
because I cannot even imagine
the beautiful pain of a love that could
drive someone to insanity
or keep them coming back to the broken and battered shell
of who someone once was
I wave goodbye to the old lady
and slip out the glass doors