Your mother smells, terribly.
I go in five times a week to wash her hair and I can tell you it’s not because it’s one of my assignments. I’m the “change-the-sheets” kinda gal. I’m also a “Mr. Jones in 5c just shit himself and I need you to take care of business” type of lady. So when I have a break or when I’m too nauseous to stomach my lunch I go and drag the visitor’s chair, your chair, across the speckled linoleum and set it in front of the sink your mother shares with Mrs. Henderson. I relocate your mother from her bed and sit her in the seat and place a fresh hand towel around her shoulders. I set to work and your mother and I listen to all sorts of sounds: the stream of faucet water, the shampoo bottle’s inappropriate tooting, Mrs. Henderson sawing wood with each cantankerous snore.
“My son’s a marksman. He can see a shot a thousand yards away. Bang! Just like that. Been shooting rifles since his daddy bought him his first one. Third Christmas and you shoulda seen that boy smile.” Your mother births a bubble of spit at the corner of her mouth and the creases around her eyes wrinkle a thousand-fold. She is proud as I scrub-a-dub-dub, my fingers working concentric circles around her scalp. My fingers, swollen like sausages. Like fat little piggies.
But she smells on Mondays. It’s the weekend crew, a bunch of lazy fucktards run the shift and you should see the shit they pull. I heard they tried to pit Mr. McGregory and Mr. Johnson against each other but one’s too deaf and the other’s too blind to give a flying rat’s ass let alone a punch. Beth Anne should have fired the whole lot of them but workers are hard to come by in this field. Nobody interested in dealing with other people’s piss. Wonder why.
Monday through Friday I take it upon myself to wash her up even if I don’t have more than five extra minutes. Monday through Friday I sit in front of that goddamn sink rubbing my fingers raw while your mother yammers on about the fruit of her loins taking down bucks and wizarding flesh into jerky. Monday through Friday I lose the feeling in my feet while the weight in my hips and my belly crushes my sciatica. Monday through Friday I take your place.
It’s not fair to that woman and I sure as hell know you know it. While you’re out taking your shots and spit shining your medals, she’s settling into her spine and losing her sense of smell. Monday through Friday I learn this, reality’s broken record and Monday through Friday I pray my baby grows to be a better man than you.
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