Mary

About once a week I still try to go see I-can-do-it Mary. I wrote about her in “I Can Do It” and Leave Me Alone.

My father likes visiting people at the nursing home so I drive him over. While he’s visiting Linda, the lady who cuts hair, or Savannah, the bank window lady, I go down to Mary’s room.

She usually has her blanket over her head. When I see her like that, I just whisper a prayer for her in my heart.

The other day, though, her room was empty. The sun was out and I found her sleeping the sunshine of the courtyard. She loves being outside.

I stood beside her and laid my hand on her arm but she didn’t stir. When I removed my hand to leave, her eyes fluttered open.

“I brought you a present, Mary,” I told her. “It’s in your room.”

A dish garden with yellow tulips, miniature daffodils, and a pink hyacinth had beckoned to me from the flower kiosk at the grocery store. When my mother was alive, I tried to bring her flowers occasionally because I knew that she loved them. This week, I purchased some for Mary.

“Oh!” she said, reaching her good hand out to me. “Say, say, I can do it!”

“I can do it, Mary,” I said. I put my hand in hers and she kissed it.

“I love you,” Mary said.

“I love you, too,” I told her.

“Would you like to go see the flowers?” I asked and she nodded her head vigorously in response.

She hooked her good foot under her bad one and began pulling herself along using that one good foot.

“One. Two. Three. Four,” she said, counting her pulls. I had never heard her count before and she watched me to make sure I was seeing and hearing this new miracle.

By the time she reached “Thirteen,” she was at the door.

Clearly thirteen has gotten a bad rap. It was a beautiful number when she said it.

When we got to her room and she saw the garden, she said, “Wow! Wow!” She turned the dish slowly so she could see if from all angles, then she reached up and pulled me to her in a bear hug.

“I love you,” she said again.

“I have to go find my father,” I told her. “He’s visiting upstairs. Do you want to go back to the courtyard?”

She nodded.

As we walked back to the courtyard, suddenly Mary stopped. She grabbed my hand and looked at me. ” I en-,” she began, and then she frowned.

“I en-,” she said again.

I waited.

She frowned in frustration, then she waved her hand in the air, erasing the words that lingered there unfinished. “I can do it,” she said quietly.

When I got her settled back in the sun, she gave me one last bear hug. “I love you,” she said.

“I love you, too,” I told her.

 

*****

This is a video I took of Mary singing to my mother.

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4 thoughts on “Mary

  1. Pingback: Safe and Swim | Hot Dogs and Marmalade

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