"Do you pray?" I asked, glancing over from the driver's seat before returning my attention to the interstate.
"I do," she replied and I nodded, leaving her to her work as I tended to my own - moving steadily southward as the sunset faded off to our right.
"How far are you going?" a colleague asked when I joined a conference call - apologizing for spotty reception somewhere in Mississippi or Alabama.
"Until we hit water," I replied before elaborating with the name of our destination. The fact is that Mom loves the ocean. It makes her happy to sit and listen to the waves. Feel the sand between her toes. Bask in the sunshine.
We stopped along the way - tired and wanting to watch the stars dance around. We arrived, ending up in fits of giggles because I'd parked at the wrong building, loaded a cart and took our ridiculous quantity of belongings to a floor where our condo decidedly was not.
Mom called Aunt the next morning, fighting back tears and mourning that the ocean was not the same. There was nowhere she could go to feel truly happy or peaceful anymore. And I curled on the couch and stared out our 4th floor window at the water in the distance, cursing it for being so calm. For not smelling of brine. For containing too many boats.
I sighed heavily when I saw the adhesive fish on the shower floor. We had looked for adhesive ducks for the tub at home - giggling over the episode of Big Bang Theory that had inspired the search.
I had my toenails painted when he was sick. One of Friend's visits of mercy was marked with manicures and pedicures and I'd just never removed the sparkling gold that had once covered the tips of my toes.
I remember it chipping when we cared for him in the last days. I have clipped away most of it as I've sat - mostly quiet - to mourn.
But I'm left feeling like I'm clinging to the vestiges of a life I once loved. And careful examination will release the wisps that I'm so desperately grasping.
Nonetheless, I very much hope all of you are well.