The Beast

“You finally have a visitor, after all these years!” joyfully shouted the nurse. She wasn’t sure she heard it right. Her ears had failed her so often in the past decades. The door opened slowly and he paced her room in discreet. He placed himself on her left side, facing the large window overviewing the garden fenced with tall trees and yellow flowers. He mumbled some words that she couldn’t catch. Staring at him for a while, she asked: “what’s your name?” Mark, he announced with a fragile voice. “Mark, Mark”, he repeated, remembering her poor hearing.  

It has been the same the five past years. At first she forgot all the others, except him. He had been always her favorite, her only boy and the source of her pride. Then, the day he feared the most sailed. She asked him the same question: “what’s your name”. He hid his watered eyes, glancing at the glass. Though he was determined not to visit her again, he couldn’t fail her on mother’s day, not any longer. He looked at her helpless body, the same one that was full of energy and life half a century ago. She was powerless to smile, to chat or to hug him; the things he missed the most. He failed to carry a talk, for every word of hers was “what’s your name”, as if they were the only words she was ever taught. 

He longed for the rituals they established on this occasion, to her voice reading his cards and poems. He craved for her smell, wearing the perfume he offered her one day. His thoughts raged and rebelled, how life was unfair. How is she to be considered alive while being entrapped in such a state, imprisoned in a bed and chained with tubes, not permitted to depart her room till her last breath. What a wild disease, raiding her memory and erasing her identity, leaving her as plain as her bed sheets, white, used and stained. He placed a soft kiss on her forehead, a tear settled on her cheek while she asked none stop: “what’s your name?” Mark, he said with a grieving smile. 

 

He exiled her room moving slower than he arrived. Unable to direct his feelings, should it be remorse, sadness or sorrow? Should he feel happy she was still alive? Was she truly alive? Should he restrain his visits? A storm of anger sealed him, how ugly and unmerciful this beast was, depriving him from his nurturer. Alzheimer they called it.

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