I look down at my mother, hair silver, skin the texture of a crinkled bag. Today she is knitting, something she hasn’t done for weeks, her hands steady as she does each stitch. I smile a bit, moving to sit down in front of her.
“Hey ma,” I say softly, hand going to rest on her knee.
When she looks up at me, her eyes are clouded, eyebrows knitting into an all too familiar stitch. I watch as her brain tries to grasp onto my features, refilling through the papers with their invisible ink, not able to find the blue light to reveal the pictures. But she still smiles, sweet like always.
“I’m sorry, do I know you? You-” she cuts herself off with a short laugh. “You seem so familiar but I just can’t seem to place it.”
I give her a tight smile, taking my hand from her knee. “It’s me, mamma. Andrew? Do you remember an Andrew?”
She starts her search again, head tilting to the side as she looks at me. “Andrew…” She looks back down at her half-made blanket, stitching as she thinks. After a few seconds, she lets out a gasp, releasing her knitting needles as she looks up at me. “Of course! My baby boy! How could I forget my baby boy?”
I grin as she holds my face in her old hands, grabbing one gently. “How are you doing today ma?”
“Wonderful! Sally Anne came by to knit with me just a few minutes ago, I’m surprised you missed her.” Sally Anne as been dead for 10 years.
“Oh really? I would have loved to say hello,” I say with a smile, giving her back her hand so she can continue her project. “Who are you making that blanket for?”
“Who am I-” She lets out an exasperated breath. “Don’t play games with me, Andy, I already told you this blanket is for Jess. I’m going to give it to Rebecca at the baby shower!” Rebecca is my wife. She gave birth to our baby girl Jessica 4 years ago.
I nod anyway, a big smile still on my face. “I’m sure they’ll both love it ma. I can even wrap it for you if you’d like.”
“That’s so sweet of you Andy,” she said with a grin, grabbing my hand for a second. “I’ll be sure to let Papa know you need the paper and bow from the store.” My father owned a convenience store. He retired 20 years ago when mom started getting sick.
I watch her continue stitching, humming to some old song as she works. I stay quiet, enjoying the sight of my mother doing something she used to love. It reminds me of all the toboggans and mittens, all scratchy sweaters and socks. My eyes begin to blur and I let out a sniffle, wiping my eyes with my sleeve quickly.
My mother looks back up at me, tilting her head to the side and I brace myself for the sentence.
“I’m sorry, do I know you?”
Inktober Prompts: https://inktober.com/rules