I could hear her waking. Smiling, I flicked the kettle on and pulled her favourite teabags from the cupboard. She blinked a couple of times, squinting around her.
She’d been basically blind for ages.
“What’s going on?” She stammered. “Where am I?” I sighed, plopping the bag into her red teapot.
“You’re at home, Ma,” I said but sadly. She frowned, her wrinkled face becoming more so. I added milk to her tea – just a splash, the way she liked it – and set it down to let it cool.
Ma huffed angrily.
“Young man, you tell me where I am right now!” I pulled up a chair and sat opposite her. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Even in the throes of her disease, she was still as demanding as ever.
“This is our house, Ma? Remember? You’ve been at the home?” She looked at me blankly. “They’ve let you come home, for a little while.” I smiled, wanting to see her smile back.
Instead she glared at me. I stood, unhappily. She was getting agitated. Ma slammed her hands on the arms of her chair furiously, struggling. Her face fell and then grew horrified.
“I can’t get up. I can’t get up!” Oh gods. I went to kneel by her.
“Ma, you can’t walk anymore,” I told her quietly. “Remember? The accident?” My hand strayed down to my prosthetic absently.
She didn’t listen to me, throwing off her blanket and pulling at her legs. I tried to sit her back down but she swatted at me angrily. I backed away.
“Get off me! Let me up! Let me walk!” She yelled but her attempts to stand failed again and again. Each try broke my heart a little more.
“Ma, please…” I whispered. “Don’t do this.” I heard something tear and she cried out, pulling even harder. I turned away. Oh, Ma. This disease… it had hurt both of us so much and it never stopped.
I choked back tears as I opened the medicine drawer. She wasn’t going to stand up. She couldn’t stand up.
I turned as the chair crashed to the floor and stared around, surprised, shocked even. I heard her crying, hysterically, and ran to the hallway.
She twisted to look at me, shouting nonsense, calling for people I had never heard of. I tried to grab her, gently as I could, but I’d lost her, lost her once more to the disease.
Crying, begging her to forgive me, I stuck the syringe into her neck and waited for her to fall still. I sank to the ground with her, sighing.
It was lucky I remembered to lock the door – I’d never have caught her.
Slowly, I reached forwards to gently pull the strips of duct tape from her legs and wondered how much I had left of her special eye drops.
It had taken me so long to find this Ma. Now I had to go and find her again.