“I’d like you to drive me in to see Aunt Beth this Thursday.”
“That’s kind of a big ask,” I tell her, “I’d have to call in sick to work. Again.”
She gives me a bit of that look like, “What do you mean, again?”
“You want me to come or not?”
“No need for that tone, young lady and, yes, I want you to come.”
“OK, depending…,” I tell her, “I’ll make sure taking the day off isn’t going to bite me in the ass first. It’s a weird day of the week to go visit her, though.”
“It’s not every day my sister turns fifty.”
“Well, technically,” I say,“ it only happens on one day.”
“Smart-ass,” my mother says.
She looks at me.
“I guess,” I say, “Seems like a long way for a short trip.”
“Mean a lot to me to have you come see her as well.”
Thursday morning, my mother wakes me up about eight.
“Ready?” she asks.
“Yeah,” I say through a yawn, “I’ll be downstairs in a couple minutes.”
When she leaves, I get up and go to my window and pull back the curtains.
The big snow we were supposed to get apparently went somewhere else, since there’s only a heavy dusting of it on the lawn.
That’s good news for the drive.
I get dressed, use the bathroom quickly, then head downstairs.
“Always nice when it snows on Anne’s birthday,” my mother says.
The traffic is fairly light by the time we reach the highway.
There’s a bit of a fender bender that slows us down, but we’re at the turnoff into the city by ten.
Even with the city traffic—which drives me crazy, by the way and I don’t how people manage to do it every day—we are down at where Anne is by eleven.
Her building is huge, something I still can’t get used to.
Where she is is in the lower floor, near the back.
Almost every time we come to visit, I always think it’d make more sense to just go in through the back.
They’ve just cleaned down here and the smell of Windex and carpet cleaner is almost over-powering.
I hope Mom won’t stay too long, but then realize that today of all days she’ll want a long visit.
Anne is in the corner, between Werner Liptnik and Yannu Taniapolopoulas.
I couldn’t imagine having neighbours named that.
They have a new floral display near the guest book and I quickly go over to look.
By the time I come back, Mom’s already talking to Aunt Anne.
I stay back a bit because this is her time with Aunt Anne.
Something about she was going to bring a cake but thought that would have been silly.
After a minute, she stands up and wipes her eyes, then replaces the flowers in the vase.
“Happy Birthday, big sis.”