"I'm old." she says, matter-of-factly, cigarette hanging limply between her lips, "I just can't do stuff anymore."
"But mom...Aunt Pat is 11 years older than you, and she can do most anything just fine."
"Yeah, but...she doesn't have medical problems like me." she says, pushing the foot rest up on the recliner, reaching for her pint glass of wine. "Oh...have you seen the new episodes of True Blood?"
"I don't watch that. Or any of the other stuff you watch. Remember?" she says, tired, "Besides, don't change the subject."
"What? I was just asking."she says, with a shrug.
"And you know what I was just asking too."
"Tch. Chris..." she says flicking her wrist in the air, "It's not that easy. I can't just start something like that. My knees hurt. So do my hips."
"Yet, you still wear flip-flops everywhere. Which, I'm sure do wonders for your joints and posture."
"They're comfortable. I'm all about comfort these days." she says, almost offended.
"But a good pair of sneakers could do you so much better than those!"
"My feet need to breathe. Plus, I'd have to wear socks with regular shoes. And I don't really want to do all that."
She looked at the floor in front of her, littered in cat fur and papers, stacked high with junk, and sighed. Her mother does what she wants. Always has, always will.
It wasn't long ago that she remembered how things were once. When she was younger, mom was able to keep up with the family, and actually cared how she looked at times. She didn't drink too often, and didn't smoke as much as she does now. She would even try to make it to events that were considered important, even if it interfered with her up-all-night sleeping schedule. She really wasn't perfect, but at least it seemed like there was an effort.
Today, though, couldn't even come close to that. Not even in a mock sense of the word. She simply didn't care anymore. And found any excuse or reason to back her up.
Where did the person she had known go? Where did the mom who used to like things run off to?
Was she ever really there in the first place?
She sat, still, cupping the bottled water in her hands. She took a sharp breath in, with heavy remnants of tobacco still lingering in the air. As much as she tried to remembered the good, the bad was never very far behind.
She was never allowed to have friends over. The house was too dirty, mom would say. But mom wouldn't try to clean it, either. And there were countless times when things needed mom's attention at school, and she was told to 'just forge it'. A bath was given, maybe, once a month. Her bed was the floor, without a room. Doctors would give advice on her medical problems, but mom didn't listen. Mom 'knew better'.
And, oh, the drugs....
"The past, is past." she said to herself, shaking the current train of thought from the forefront of her mind. She couldn't change what had happened. Much as she would like to try. Much as she would like to forget.
She looked to her right, and saw her mom fixated and glass-eyed at the TV.
"Mom, won't you even try?" she pleaded.
"I told you." she said, eyes never leaving the glowing box, "I'm old. So, what are ya gonna do?"
She sighed, feeling that familiar heaviness sink in again. She was helpless to the whims and stubbornness of the woman who had bore her. Nothing she would say or do could affect mom or change her mind. And somewhere, along the lines of life, mom had given up. Given up on hope, given up on happiness and given up on ever trying to better herself.
Mom was simply, waiting to die.
From outside, she could hear the faint chirping of birds in faraway nests. Late at night, wrapped in the cold, she thinks of nothing else.