Mom has decided I have cancer. She's trying to commandeer a taxi to bring me fruit. The first phone call comes about 5 pm.
"Anne, this is Connie. Could you talk to your mother? She's worried and crying."
"She says, 'My daughter has cancer in the uterus. I have to get a cab to take food to her.' She's been doing this all afternoon, telling this to everyone.
"I tell her 'No, Anne is fine. She had surgery, but she's fine now. Why are you crying?'
"But still she is saying, 'I want to go to Anne. I want to take her some fruit.'
"She keeps crying with real tears and saying, 'Connie, let's go take a cab.'
"I tell her 'I'm still doing the laundry--we can't go now.'
" 'I'll go by myself,' she says. 'Bring me to the first floor--I'll call a cab.'
"I tell her, 'Later we will call Anne, after dinner.' So could you talk to her? Just tell her she can't take a taxi."
"Okay," I promise.
"Mom, how are you today?" I begin.
"I'm all right, but come November I'm going to move to that place."
"Okay... you like the P.E.O. sisters, don't you?"
"Yes, and I'm going to do it, no matter what you say."
"Okay... well, did you have a good dinner?"
"Yes, we had afro-daisics. It's when you eat the stuff off the leaves."
"Well, I'm going to get some fruit. I'll see you soon. Goodbye, dear."
She hangs up, and I wonder why she hasn't raised the subject of taking a taxi. I'm not going to bring it up if she doesn't.
The phone rings again.
"Anne, could you talk to your Mom again? She thinks she is coming over to see you right now."
"Oh, I'm sorry I didn't make that clear to her, that she can't come.... Hi, Mom."
"This is your mother. I'm going to get a cab and come see you."
"That wouldn't be a good idea, Mom."
"They don't want to take me downstairs, but I'm going to do it anyway."
"Mom, how would you get in and out of the cab?"
Silence on the other end of the phone line. She is thinking this one over.
I'm silent too, giving her time to remember that she can't walk, can't get in and out of her wheelchair without help.
"Mom, I'll send Marie over. She can pick up the fruit and bring it to me."
"Well, that would be okay. You could send Marie over?"
"But I can't ever find that Kuhner's. And I'm worried about Marie--she's marrying an Israelite."
"Mom, she's not marrying anybody. She's just 19. She's dating a guy who's Iranian and Jewish, but she's not getting married any time soon."
"She's not? Well, okay."
The storm subsides.
Marie takes time out of her evening social schedule to stop by Grandma's, but by that time Grandma is calmed down, almost asleep.