JUDITH by M Teresa Clayton
"Don't forget that I cannot see myself -- that my role is limited to being the one who looks in the mirror." - Jacques Rigaut
Suzanne isn’t much of a talker and the routine never changes… full spoon aimed at my mouth as I watch her own mouth open in mock anticipation of its content. I suppose she doesn’t think I know what to do when a spoon is coming at me. I am not an idiot, Suzanne; I do know how to open my mouth to receive… food.
My face twitched with the thought and my cheeks burned and ached, then it was gone… some long ago memory of something…
After I take a bite the ritual continues, two shaves of the chin with the spoon to collect any drool and renegade morsels and it all gets reinserted into my mouth again. I must learn how not to drool, but not before I learn the fine art of spitting.
“Are you almost finished here?” This nurse is the liveliest one to ever come visit; a large black woman with breasts that extend well over her waist and hips making it impossible to see her ID badge. “They want us to clean her up. Them doctors think we just move them into the shower, hose ‘em down and dry ‘em off. They got no idea, no idea at all!”
“Yep, done here” Suzanne answers back to her. “Whose turn is it to brush her hair?”
“Yours, sweet Suzie! It’s all you today, good luck.” The black woman comes to the other side of my bed to lift me into the wheelchair.
Here we go, another day at the spa with people attending to my every need. Life is good here at the institute. They really should send out brochures.