Page 15


illustration by Alyson Fox wrote to you. Help me out! What day is it? March 12? You are taking care of yourself? I read your article! I write so sloppyold age. Mommy is taking good care of me all the time. Don’t worry. Don’t work too hardI know I wrote this already! Tell me i f I am losing it? Sweet hugs & thoughts & kisses for all, especially you. Love, Oma I cried because I sensed the first tremor of the coming avalanche, and because I understood the best we could do was brace ourselves and hold her close to cushion the fall. Peripheral reminders are everywhere. A block of Post-it Notes invokes memories of marathon scavenger hunts at Oma’s house. I see an advertisement for a bridal store on television and realize I’ve never asked her about her wedding. These reminders are not piercing because they’re nostalgic; they are piercing because they come with the knowledge that for Oma, they are dropping away. There’s not enough time. I remember, and she forgets, I remember, and she forgets; a devastating and infuriating stasis. If only I could scream at this disease and scare it off, I would gather the memories to make her whole again. I cannot conceive of what it’s like for my mother, her heroic caretaker. It’s 12:45 a.m. and I’m brushing my teeth when the phone rings. It startles me to see her name on the caller ID this late. “Oma?” “Yvonne!” she says. “Are you okay?” I ask. “Why are you awake?” “You said you would call me:’ she says. “I’ve been waiting for you to call:’ Hours ago, when I called my mother, she told me she’d just talked to Oma, and that she was settled in for the night. “I’m so sorry Oma,” I say. “I thought you were asleep:’ I’d assumed she had forgotten. “N0000,” she says, her voice clear. “You said you would call when you got home:” In the melody of that wonderful extended “0,” stern and sweet, I hear her unmistakably. My grandmother. I hold on tight. Yvonne Georgina Puig is a writer living in Austin and Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, the Austin-American Statesman, and GOOD Magazine. She is an editor at . NOVEMBER 28, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31