Riding in the car with my mother, I never graduated from the back seat to the front. Whenever I tried to climbing in next to her (“This is stupid—I’m riding up front”) she’d howl and swipe at me until I caved. That was how she defended her space. We drove around like that until I got my driver’s license: us two,
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Auld Lang Syne
Dad couldn’t stop crying after Kathy moved him into the facility. When she came to visit, he’d cry and say he wanted to die. He said the same thing to the nurses. This went on for about a month until the doctor put him on an antidepressant especially for Parkinson’s patients. The next time Kathy came to visit, she found him in the cafeteria, talking to some of the other residents and not crying at all—just enjoying his lunch. When it was time for her to go, he didn’t cry, but rather calmly escorted her to the car. “Do you like this car? My wife and I were thinking about getting one,” he told her. “That’s very interesting,” Kathy smiled, “because I am your wife.” Dad chuckled, “Is that right?” He squinted over the palm trees towards the freeway. So many cars. Busy busy busy. “Well, we’ll see you later, then,” he said, and shook her hand firmly, the way he’d learned to do at Rotary. What funny new friends he was making.
Jennifer L. Knox
Jennifer L. Knox is the author of Days of Shame and Failure (Bloof Books, 2015), The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway (Bloof Books, 2010), Drunk by Noon (Bloof Books, 2007), and A Gringo Like Me (Bloof Books, 2007). She lives in Iowa, where she teaches at Iowa State University.