No soldier, not anymore

Discussion in 'Real World' started by Clemens Nevan, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Clemens Nevan Friendship
    Gazimon the Gazimon

      In the dim morning light of a modest dwelling, three women sit at a small, rickety table, hands carefully clasped on plastic cards and eyes affixed to the center of the table, where a pile of cards was growing as the game wore on. In the opposite corner of the room, a bed smelled of laundry detergent and medical supplies, hooked up to several machines that kept silent guard over the unmoving dark body within.

      Kayla was the youngest, in her early thirties with bright, inquisitive eyes, that were once soft and naive , and now learned and sly. Her hair was long, black, and lustrous, but the diabetes that ran in her bloodline and liked to pop out of the woodwork with poor diet made her face look tired. She played an ace, putting it atop the pile and drawing a card from a draw stack that couldn't possibly be from a single deck of cards. "Holla!", and she flung her fingers up photogenically.

      Jordan, who sat next to her bore a striking resemblance, but with mid-length and curly hair, and manicured nails was in her late fifties but looked excellent for her age. "Girl, you're a basic bitch. Comon', how stupid could you be. Can't believe I raised a child of mine to fall for the oldest trick in Tallows there is.", and she slapped her own ace ontop of Kayla's, not even bothering a look of scorn. She took a drag on her cigarette , then ashed it into an empty glass.

      Hailey sat between Kayla and Jordan and stared at her cards as if her mind were as much a world away as the body in the bed in the back. She had the shortest hair of all, kept neat and tidy, and had her nails nicely done, but not as immaculate as Jordan. Kayla's weren't done at all. Hailey bore the strongest resemblance between the two ladies, tying their looks together in her face, shoulders, and strong and steady hands, even though she was in her mid seventies, now.

      "Mooooommmmm", Kayla groaned. But it wasn't about the card.

      Jordan looked up, stared for a moment, and then quietly reached over and flipped Hailey's front-facing card around that she had been holding in her hand. She said nothing, just fiddled with her cigarette. This was not the first time that this had happened, nor would it be the last. After all, some day it would be her slowly loosing her wits across the years of time. Hailey's face lit up. "There it is!", she announced, and flipped down that same card, a duce, onto the pile. "Clemens says Mikhail is good and safe", she added, as if conversations from a comatose patient were a regular thing. Hailey maintained a stoic face but Kayla visibly winced at the mention of her two boys, uncertain what to say this time.

      "You want me to prop him up so you can hear him better mama?", Jordan said. Kayla bit her tongue and ground her teeth. She looked across the room at her son in the bed, back at her hand, played a card, and ground her teeth some more.

      "He likes to talk, ya'll just don't do no listenin'.", grandmother Hailey scorned the two for their misbelief in whatever it was that was giving Hailey hope- they hadn't figured it all out yet. Jordan put down her cards in a smooth, dignified manner, rose, and propped the comatose Clemens up against the wall into a sitting position. Moving a limp body around was no easy task but Jordan made it look like it; having raised so many squirming children herself, a limp one was no trouble as long as her muscles remembered those good days. Jordan returned and picked up her cards. And just like that the conversation was ruined and the three of them were stuck back in the place where one of their boys were wounded and the other off fighting in some muddy pit somewhere. Their husbands dead, gone, or divorced, they only had each other. The game dragged on for a while before Kayla found another good move, triumphantly laying down her card with an emphatic "Hah!"

      Just then a door in the house opened and the sounds of someone setting things down, bumping into things, and settling in came steadily. Kayla and Hailey didn't bother any energy towards this. Jordan merely looked down at an old mechanical-style watch on her wrist, and gave an "Mmmhhhhmmm", satisfactorily.

      A few minutes later, a short, broad woman bustled in with a busy energy that visibly annoyed all three of the ladies the moment she crossed the threshold of the room. Madison, the home health worker who worked for the insurance company and had a replacement on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but today was Monday. She checked the bags and the tubes and the tapes and turned all of the life support monitor volumes back up from silent to an audible level, having had that conversation so many times that she didn't bother to mention it. When that fervor was done, Madison's energy level had dropped to something more manageable and relaxed and the three generations of mothers were silently relieved at both this and the lack of scolding. Their body postures loosened, as if letting out a long-held breath of tension. "Why do you keep propping him up like this? It makes no sense! Jordan, can you give me a hand?", Madison began to move Clemens back fully onto his bed and into the covers but the grown, limp man was too much for her. Madison said nothing, simply stared the stare that said 'I put him there, I'm not moving him back now', but without admission of guilt. Kayla set down her cards and came to help, and together they wrestled his body back under the covers as if it were a wayward sheep gone too far out of the pasture.

      "He likes the sunshine. It's good for him and it warms his soul.", stoic grandmother Hailey interjected in half-complaint.

      "Uhuh", the home worker replied. "Just like not taking your heart medicine warms your blood, Hailey?", she quipped as she picked up a pill-cup that was hiding in the corner, still containing a bulky pill practically the size of a horse's adam's apple. Kayla gave her grandmother a worried look. Jordan gave a low 'i-told-you-she'd-find-it-there' whistle.

      "It's too big for me to swallow, how many times do I have to tell you people...", Hailey grumbled back with half a breath, turning back around in her chair to face the card game, resigned.

      fade out