Here to Torment Me

“Are you here to torment me?” The question is growled with a faded British accent, the kind you get after too many years away from the home country. She looks across the card table with an uneasy squint that distorts her already wrinkled face. The hair is cloud white, sitting in delicate puff and curls. It’s a Tuesday, and Tuesday is the day the beautician drops by the home.

“Are you here to torment me?” It’s the same question every week. It’s the same question every couple of minutes honestly. 80 years of living, and this is the impression the world has left on her addled mind. 80 years of loving, and her expectation runs here. 80 years of giving and serving, and life deals her this, dementia and incontinence.

“Are you here to torment me?” I suppose I am. I call it service and duty. Some call it penance, what I do to assuage the guilt of too many years of disrespect, too many warnings not heeded. Perhaps I’m hoping for karma to make an appearance later.

“No mom, I’m just here for tea.”

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