The Vegetable Bill
I couldn’t understand what they were saying. They must have been whispering. How rude! I eyed them while the bile rose in my stomach.
“What? What did you say?” I asked.
They turned and looked down their nose at me. “I was talking to Nicole, mom.”
I detected annoyance. Why did he even come if I bother him so much? I knew he was taking about me.
“Are you talking about me? I have a right to know! Are you planning to send me to a nursing home?”
“No, mom. I was just asking her if you were eating at dinner.”
“Well you could ask me!” What dinner were they talking about anyway?
He smiled and I couldn’t tell if it was sincere or a smile you’d give a crazy person.
“Mr. Huntington,” Nicole said softly, “she went into her neighbor’s room this morning and woke him up asking why he was still in bed.”
“Oh my. I’m so sorry. Please tell him we are sorry.”
“It’s alright. She thought he was you and you were late for work.”
“Then she kept asking if we’d fed her cat.”
“Yeah, she had a cat.”
“Well, she has been doing very well adjusting. She asks where her family is often, but she seems to be settling in. She is very reclusive and won’t join in the activities. Is that normal?”
“Yes. She was very much a home body.”
“Alright then. Let us know if you need anything.” Nicole got up and left the room.
I could see their mouths moving and hear some words, but I could not understand them. My arm itched like crazy. There were scabs from where I had scratched before. There were always scabs. If I could just gets the scabs off, I’m sure it wouldn’t itch. I picked at the edges of the scabs.
I looked up to see Nicky watching me. “Nicky, have you seen Amy lately?”
“She never visits me. Now, I’m not just saying this because you are in front of me, but she is the devil. You know that she wants to put me in a nursing home?”
The corners of his mouth tried not to turn up. “Why do you think that?”
“She told me I was going to hell and she was putting me in a nursing home.”
“Well that wasn’t very nice.”
“You have to be careful around her. She will take everything you have.”
“Okay, mom. I’ll be careful.”
Something was on the edge of my mind. I could just barely hold it. Something. Joe. That’s it. Joe died, but how? I don’t remember.
“Have you got me doped up?”
“I just can’t remember anything. Is there something wrong with me? Am I losing my mind? Joe died, didn’t he?”
“Yeah, three years ago. You aren’t crazy. You just forget things.”
“Don’t I have a cat? Have you fed the cat?”
“Yes, I fed the cat.”
“Where’s my checkbook? I can’t find my checkbook.”
“What do you need your checkbook for?”
“The bills. I need to pay the bills.” I knew there had to be bills. I always took care of them. There was something I needed to pay. I knew Nicky was paying some bills but they really weren’t his business. It was my business. His wife was so nosy. I bet she knew all my bills. I frowned more than usual. If I could just get back home. This was like home but it wasn’t my actual home. “Nicky, I want to go back home.”
He sighed. He must be annoyed, but I don’t care. I don’t want to be here. “Mom, I’ll take you home tomorrow. What bills do you have?”
I think that would be alright. Tomorrow is fine. “Alright. I need to pay the bill for the vegetables.”
He suppressed a chuckle. I stared at him trying to figure out what was funny. I didn’t say anything funny. Joe died. It crept back into my mind. “Did he suffer?”
“No. He just went to sleep.”
“Well, I want you to take me home tomorrow. Will you do that?” I can take care of myself. I just want to get back to my home and Joe.
“Don’t I have a cat? Have you fed my cat today?”