Hannah sits on chairs. She sits on a chair at the sink, and moves her weight to the chair by the fridge, to complete the daily tasks that have etched the grooves of her life. Her husband will not allow her to seek assisted care, so she lives life from chair to chair and keeps her hands busy.
She has three of four children left. She lives under the same roof that sheltered her and Edward since ’68, when Joseph, the eldest, was born. The walls in her home are nicked and tired, but filled with memories and photos.
Edward yells and storms at her, unaware of his own outbursts. He is a mild, good man in dire straights. His face is deteriorating from cancer, and the doctor says there’s nothing that can be done. His face is seeping and swathed with bandages. His life is suffering and restless sleep.
Regarding the anger and railings of her husband Hannah confides, “I listen to Dr. Shultz on the radio give advice to women about all sorts of problems. Many are worse off than I am and it makes me feel a little better about my own situation.”
“Lunch is ready,” calls Hannah.
“What are you saying?” Edward growls from the bedroom.
Lunch is chicken broth with noodles and garlic bread.
“Did you want some garlic toast?”
Edward shakes his head but Hannah doesn’t see. She passes him the toast.
“What are you giving me that for?”
Existing from chair to chair, Hannah still bakes bread. Her eyes sparkle as she shows me the cushion her sister made for her, and the little handcrafted boats her uncle made. She catches me up on the family gossip and asks me about my husband. I look at this lady and see that she is so young. A twenty-something trapped in frailty. She hugs me like a high school bosom friend. I realize that people are timeless.