Trio no. 4
Daily Prompt: Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)
The phone rang. In spite of it being my brother calling, I decided reluctantly to pick it up. Half the time I regretted picking the phone up. I would hang up with my stomach twisted in knots. He was a constant whirlwind of scheming ideas, mostly mind-bending.
“Mom’s birthday is coming up,” he said.
“Oh yeh, damn.” Mom’s birthday was one of the worst gift giving experiences, my mother being the most ungracious receiver of gifts ever — her typical response to any gift being “what am I going to do with this?” she’ll be saying with a grimace — , which probably explains why I hate both giving and receiving presents. Thanks, Mom.
My mother will be 89 years old in two days. She has had at least 2 strokes this past summer, which left her unable to walk on her own, eat, write, talk — she can barely do anything really. She is being sustained on a feeding tube.
“I think we should pitch in and get her a race car,” my brother, the race car driver was saying — flying, horseback riding, golfing, car racing, this guy does everything in fever pitch. Several years earlier he had totalled his other car. He was speeding down the freeway and flipped the car on a pot hole. Another of his 9 lives kicked in. I wondered how many he had left. The previous life was when he totaled his airplane.
Always thinking on his toes, that one, he continued. “We can take her places — out to get a haircut, out for a drive (Mom hates riding in cars with a passion, another thing I inherited from her.). We need a car to drive her around in. And you can drive it when you come and visit.” The unspoken implication to this statement was that this new racing car for our 89-year-old dying mother would be bought on her money since my brother was already in debt with his 3 cars, 2 airplanes, 4 horses, 4 dogs, and 1 cat, and weekly golf tournaments. He is one of those people who feels an urgent need to spend money — anybody’s money — on anything.
I took a deep breath and sighed, looking out of my office window. It was a crisp, bright morning and my stomach refused to let itself get tied in a knot.
“I’ll think about it,” I said to him and hung up. The best way to handle insanity is not to fight back, just keep delaying the topic until the final message becomes clear. I then went onto 1800flowers.com and ordered her flowers. “With my Deepest Love” my card will say. But I know she’ll barely read it before tossing it aside.