Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The massive lunch is over.

Either the veggie burgers were discovered, or Karen didn’t know she wasn’t eating one.

Agnes’s son is sleeping in a lounge chair, his old fishing hat over his face. The baby boomers are in chairs around her, talking about work, politics, their kids. Amanda’s husband has carried their unconscious three year old upstairs to nap in one of the guest rooms. Amanda and Mike, sit a few yards away from the “old” folks, their heads together, their voices low. Sophie is halfway up the tree with a book. Maddison is sleepier than she wants to admit, and has retreated indoors to play with some dolls. When her father comes down the stairs in less than ten minutes, he will find his daughter face down in a small pile of Groovy Girls, out cold.

Agnes turns her head only a little, but she sees all of this. At the moment, no one is directly interacting with her, so she lets her memories of twenty, forty, sixty years occupy her mind.

Her mind doesn't wander much, but has its moments. Moments when she’ll speak to someone as though they were someone else, but catches herself before she gets to far. The other day she told Amanda to put “that pretty yellow dress” on, and realized only when she saw puzzlement that she had been thinking of her daughter Shirley. Shirley died twenty years ago. Not that Agnes had thought Amanda was Shirley, she just saw a pretty female with dark hair in a certain dress, and didn’t realize how old the mental picture really was.