Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: AGREE TO DISAGREE (05/04/17)
TITLE: Mimi and Me
By LeslieJean Anderson
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It’s not that I don’t have compassion on the poor old thing. She was just overwhelmed by life and couldn’t make decisions. So, she just floated along, influenced by people who did not have her best interests in mind. Maybe nobody ever did. Then suddenly she was old.
I never called her “Mom.” I called her Mimi – a name I made up because she didn’t raise me. Her first boyfriend got her pregnant, and then abandoned her as soon as he found out. Ran off and joined the Army. She never heard from him again. By the time her parents realized her condition, they were mad because it was too late for an abortion.
When I learned about that, I was appalled. That would have been ME they’d have “terminated,” mind you. It made me mad, them wanting to kill me just because I wasn’t old enough to breathe.
So, I was put up for adoption. Mimi said she’d have kept me if her parents hadn’t pressured her. But now I am glad. My adoptive parents really did want me. And my adoptive grandparents were loving too. Great folks. They taught me about God, and made me the center of their lives. And when I was an adult, they helped me find Mimi.
But she was a mess by then. I found her living alone and bitter in a dumpy trailer park near a convenience store. She was almost a recluse, on food stamps and in bad health. She’d had several husbands, but no more children. I tried to help her, but we’d usually get into arguments about religion.
“Mimi,” I’d say, “You need to go to church. You’ll learn about your Creator and make friends. They have free clinics and they might even help you find a job.”
“Those hypocrites,” she’d say, dragging on a cigarette. “My third husband was a Christian, but he ran off with some little tart from the Baptist church.”
“But Mimi,” I’d say, “You’ll find God there, and learn that Jesus loves you. You can even walk to that church down the street.”
“Jesus,” she’d snort and pop open a beer. “Jesus was a weakling. Let those Romans beat him up and torture him to death. What can he do for me?”
Finally, we agreed to disagree. I kept visiting her, making sure her rent was paid and that there was food in her refrigerator. I sent her Christian magazines for a few years until she handed me a bag of them one day.
“Here, Sharon. Take them away. I never read ‘em.”
I felt like such a failure. I wanted to bring some comfort into her life.
A few months after that, I got a call from the hospital. She’d fallen and had several injuries, including a broken hip. And then the doctor told me something that made my jaw drop – she was practically blind. Severe cataracts. I never knew. No wonder she couldn’t read the magazines. But she knew her way around the trailer. Until she’d tripped on something.
She went downhill rapidly after that. I was the only one to come to see her in the hospital. I was there every day, but she was under heavy sedation.
“Mimi,” I pleaded late last night. “Please let me pray for you – or let me call my pastor.”
“OK,” she mumbled. I wasn’t sure she knew what I was saying, but I called my pastor this morning anyway, and we prayed. I let him give her the last rites. She never regained full consciousness, but I could feel something in her hand. Her fragile old fingers curled around mine for several hours. Finally, her hand relaxed and she was gone.
But I still haven’t moved. The nurses are whispering and looking at me. My pastor comes into the room.
“Sharon, she’s gone,” he said softly. “She’s in God’s loving hands now. But take comfort – she didn’t die alone. You were a wonderful daughter to her.”
“Yes, you were. She gave you life, Sharon, and then you blessed her greatly in her old age. I’m sure God is pleased.”
His hand is on my shoulder. My heart bursts. My eyes are burning, and I sob.
This is a work of fiction. 750 words
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