Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Incidents, Assignments: "Wicked Woman"

Honolulu International Airport, 9/12/11, Gate 8, flight to San Francisco.

A man comes and sits across the gap in the black seats from me. He gets on his cell phone, says chirpily that he's arrived. He says, go get your exercise today, we're going to have good week together, enjoy Rush.

He's a handsome tanned white middle-aged man in glasses, blue polo shirt, tailored jeans and belt. His briefcase is a shiny light leathery brown with a gold-colored clasp. His phone rings. Someone has let Roslyn's bird free. Oh no. He gave her xanax this morning. When we're away she just has to stay in her room. Leave her some water. That's the rule now.  Let me talk to her, he says. 


She said she didn't do it.  Imagine that. Just keep her in the room, and lock the door. Someone can clean the sheets later. Give her water.

She might just die. If she goes, she goes. Her evil days are over.

Such a liar. I told her she's an evil wicked person. I thought it might be dementia, but it isn't, because she planned this. She knows what she's doing. Trying to hurt people. At least we've got this under control now.

I'm sorry about your bird, sweetie. I know that bird meant a lot to you. Sweetheart, we'll get you another bird. Don't worry.


I'm behind him in the corridor at San Francisco Airport, walking to the AirTrain. I will tell him his mother has Alzheimer's. I will say something to him. I walk more quickly.  I see his light-colored slip on shoes on the escalator in front of me, but he's on the cell phone, talking. We get to the platform He waits a moment for the train, gets on, cell phone stuck to his left ear.

I should have done it. I should have leaned in after him.  I should have said: YOUR MOTHER HAS ALZHEIMER'S. YOUR MOTHER HAS ALZHEIMERS. YOUR MOTHER IS NOT EVIL OR WICKED. But I do not. The doors close, his train leaves.


Assignment: rewrite from the point of view of the mother, the daughter, or the bird.

Assignment: look out the window of the airplane, wondering if it's Cleveland by the lake in the dark, city lights pushed up against its illegible shore.  Try to make something out that is not evil or wicked or mom.

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