Note: Prequel to the story, 'The Price of a Life.'
She sleeps peacefully in her bed. She looks like an angel; her grey hair looks completely white and translucent. It almost glows as the full moon sheds its light through the open window.
“Good night, mom” He softly kisses her cheek and heads downstairs.
She squints her eyes at the sun as it engulfs the entire room in its bright rays. She sits up and yawns, only half awake. She looks around the room, dazed. Everything looks blurry, like she is looking through a dirty glass window. She looks up and sees a hazy, yet familiar looking face.
I’ve seen this face before. Those sea-green eyes look just like mine. I think his name is Thomas… no… Timothy?
“You… you’re Ti-Timothy?” she squints, moving closer.
“Good morning, mom! I’m Thomas, remember?” he flashes a quick smile and reaches for her glasses on the desk.
“Here, put these on.”
Her head is muffled with thoughts and various images. She doesn’t move. He gently adjusts the glasses onto her wrinkled, delicate face and starts to help her up. The phone rings from the next room. He runs over.
She gets up and wanders through the kitchen and hears meowing outside the door. She heads towards the road, walking barefoot on the cold concrete floor. The cool, gentle autumn breeze sweeps up her thin hair. She doesn’t know where she’s heading but the streets look familiar to her, like she’s been here before, many years ago as a child.
“Hi, Mrs. Jamieson!” She turns to her side to see a thin, young boy with dark curly hair and brown eyes. He smiles at her. He is missing one of his front teeth.
“Okay, I’ll call you back later. I think she’ll enjoy it” Thomas places the phone on the receiver and returns to the room. His heart sinks at the sight of the empty room. Beads of sweat form on his forehead. Thomas runs past all the rooms, calling out for her. He dashes out the front door.
“Mom!” he pants, gasping for air, “Mom!! Where are you?”
He feels a gentle tug on his shirt.
“Oh, Jimmy…what’s wrong?”
The young curly-haired boy sobs.
“M-Mrs. Jamieson yelled at me! Sh-she said she didn’t …she said she didn’t know me! I asked her to play with me”
“Jimmy, you saw Mrs. Jamieson?! Which way did she go?”
Jimmy rubs his eyes and points towards the dog park. Thoughts race in Thomas’ mind.
I shouldn’t have left you by yourself, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I should’ve been more careful. You’re vulnerable and frail. You could get seriously injured, especially at this stage of Alzheimer’s. You’ve been through enough in your life, mom. You worked two jobs just so I could go to college. You never missed a recital; you always celebrated our birthdays, no matter how little money we had. I won’t forget how you smiled at me, even though you were in so much pain, battling with depression after dad’s accident.
Thomas runs through the park, asking nearby dog-walkers if they’ve seen an elderly woman.
“Yea, she looked very dazed and confused. She headed towards Mimico creek”
Thomas sprints towards the creek. He hears loud, playful barking behind the big oak tree.
“Mom!” Thomas collapses on his knees onto the soft grass, catching his breath.
The small brown Pomeranian in her arms licks her face, excitedly wagging its tail and barking. Her deep green eyes widen when she sees tears streaming down his face.
Thomas gets up and hugs her tightly.
“I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry. I’ll take good care of you, just like how you took good care of me.”