Take the most forgotten of people. The woman in the red coat at the checkout in the store in the queue ahead of me. I don't notice her at first. Until the delay in her transaction takes over that is. She appears distracted. Apparently it is her second time at the checkout because she had forgotten to pick up the newspaper and a t.v. guide. She walks away from the desk without her change. She struggles with her shopping bags. They are packed with groceries and a large bunch of flowers, mushrooms, leeks, tea, sugar. I run after her and hand her the change. She appears disoriented. She says she has her change. The checkout person shouts to her that no, she had not given it to her.
The woman in the red coat at the grocery store connects with me. I think this could be me in the future. Battling with too much and having too little to cope. I offer the woman in the red coat a lift. I say I have a small car, two very big sons in the car who can squash into the back seat. I say I can take her anywhere. She appears startled. She looks at me. Sees my blue earrings. My wild headscarf. My tattered hightops. Rings from New Mexico on my fingers. She accepts.
I never thought the VW Bug was difficult to get into. The woman in the red coat at the grocery store has to bend her frame twice over. I worry about the flowers. How crushed they will be once we arrive at where we are heading. I ask her where she is going. My sons watch me and her from the back seat. Their legs are folded in three. She asks for the Nursing Home not far from the store. Her eldest sister is there. She likes it in the home, she says. She tells me that I am kind. I say nonsense. I say to her, put on your seatbelt. I say, what a lovely day, chill but sunny. She says, yes, have you been in a home? I sense a little bit of loss from reality and I say, never, not yet, anyway. She says, my sister loves it there. I say, she will like the flowers. She shakes her head and looks out the window. My sons say nothing. I drive. I pull into the nursing home. Two cars drown the driveway. I get out and run to open the passenger door. The woman from the grocery store struggles out, the flowers look close to wilting. She thanks me. Tells me I will have a lifetime of luck. I watch her as I drive off. She presses the doorbell but nobody answers. The wind blows her red coat and everything appears to be tumbling around her. My sons say nothing on the way home. Nothing at all. There is nothing to say. My voice lost into silence.