Soul2Soul Blog

Far from Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge

«I have to go. I need to go home. It’s getting late. My family does not know where I am. I should call my mother. I feel bad that I did not call her. She must wonder where I am. Maybe she is dead. She is very old. –When was the last time you saw your mother?” Judith thinks for a while. “She lives in Brooklyn. Are we far away from Brooklyn? –We are on the other coast. We are in San Francisco.” Judith is unable to hear that phrase. I repeat S-A-N F-R-A-N-C-I-S-C-O many times in the little microphone of the pocket-size amplifier connected to Judith’s headphones. The city’s name does not make sense; maybe it contains too many F and S, high frequencies that do not penetrate Judith’s ears anymore. “We are in California.” Judith seems to comprehend that name a little better. It is unknown territory for me. Usually, I do not insist on geography or time, but the question came from her. Anyway, my words do not seem to help. I decide to stop talking. I will only mirror her facial expressions. I am completely focused on reproducing Judith’s emotions. I want her to know that I am listening, that she is not alone. I am becoming the mother, the family, Brooklyn, all that she is missing. “My family does not call. They do not know where I am.” I know that children and grandchildren come lovingly to visit every weekend. In silence, I feel the open wound of her forgetfulness: the children’s sadness of being forgotten against her anxiety of being abandoned. My deep attention to her repeated questions and statements is calming. The questions become less urgent. Judith relaxes her back against the back of her wheelchair. She smiles at me. She strokes my arm. I hold her hand. “It is getting late, I better stay here.” I sit with her a little longer, to hold our bond, in case of an afterthought. She has reached safe grounds. She does not need me anymore.

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