Elephant in the Room
“You look like shit. AGAIN.” Dean didn’t need to look to know who had parked their butt on his desk, effectively crumpling the open Miller files.
“Good morning to you too, Anni!” Seeing her sitting on their most important client’s documents, he immediately pushed at his colleague slash best friend. “Lift your behind, would you?” Anni scoffed before she placed an extra-large latte beside the keyboard. “Hard night?”
Anni rolled her eyes and finally leaned back so Dean could pull the papers out from under her. He immediately tried to flatten the worst creases with his flat hand. “You will explain this to the boss woman.”
“I wish.” Dean leaned back into the chair, and rubbed his eyes until his reading glasses sat askew on his nose and constricted his breathing.
“What is up with you? You look as if you haven’t gotten much sleep since Monday.”
Dean stared at the steam billowing over the coffee, quickly hiding a massive yawn behind his hand.
“Dean?” When he still hadn’t said one word she asked, “Is something going on with your mother?”
“Did you visit with her on Sunday?”
“Does the new routine we talked about a few months ago help her?”
“Yes, I bought a bright colored bowl and placed it on the table beside the door as you suggested. She mostly remembers to put her keys and wallet into it when she comes home now from walking the dog. This is why she doesn’t have to search the whole place for them when she goes out again. The neighbors agreed to keep spare keys in case she forgot to take hers.
My brother hired a cleaning lady, but Mom didn’t like her. She even accused her of stealing, so my sister in law goes over there once a week now.”
“Did you talk with her doctor?”
“It isn’t Alzheimer’s as we thought.”
“After my father passed away six years ago, our mother managed to do to herself what she feared the most since her own mother suffered from Alzheimer’s. Mom simply drank her brain away, which has the same effect as the illness. I can’t believe Mason and I feel never noticed my mother’s drinking habit.”
“Is that why you sleep so badly?”
“No, it has nothing to do with that I’m just having the same fucking dream every night which drives me crazy : I’m in my mother’s kitchen and look out the window. She stands beside me and together we watch an elephant herd milling about in her backyard. Eventually she tells all their names and points out her ‘favorite girl’, Clarissa, and asks me to play with her, so I go out and lift up the elephant as if it weighed nothing. Mom claps her hands in glee, so I put it on the tip of my finger, cock my hip, and swirl my hand around until Clarissa starts to spin. I’m so glad I can finally make Mom happy again until the elephant begins tumbling down, and buries me under its huge body. I always wake up at four am gasping for air, tangled in my sheets with my head under the pillow. I can never get back to sleep after that which is why I end up cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, or sorting my books alphabetically.”
“Do you want me trying to read that dream for you?”
Dean vehemently shook his head. “No thank you!”
“I have another idea. How about you sleep at my place tonight? My apartment totally needs a thorough cleaning and I have tons of laundry.”