I got beat at the parkI Got Beat At The Park

I’ve been feeling really bad lately since my mom is feeling so bad. I talk to her daily, but there is no conversation anymore. We used to talk about the books we were reading, TV shows we were watching, foods we were preparing, current events, and more. But she just makes it to the computer for about two minutes and we talk about nothing. She doesn’t call me even though I suggest it may be less painful. I can’t force her to call instead of using Instant Message. I just hope she does it because she likes it better, not because I hate the phone. I do call her when I just need to hear her voice, but it’s never a good conversation and she makes it short. Sigh.

She has lost interest in everything. She doesn’t read, watch TV, cook, or keep up with the news. She has pain in her hips and knees. She doesn’t sleep well. This comes from a person who slept for 8 – 10 hours nightly forever. There is no joy in her life whatsoever.
She has a nurse’s aide daily, she has Meals on Wheels, and now she has a new doctor who comes to her. The only time she went out was to go to the doctors, now the doctor comes to her. Her aide comes back after her regular daytime hours to help her with dinner and going to bed. This is what did it for me. I pretty much lost it when she told me this.
My mother is a strong woman. She doesn’t tell me things that she knows will make me worry any more than I already do. But I think she is telling me more things a little at a time because I’m going to be there on April 24th for a week. She won’t be able to hide much then. She does this out of love; because she knows what my daily life is like. I visited her 6 months ago and I can’t believe how fast she is going downhill. My brothers live close to her and see her often. I don’t get any calls from them about my mom. I have to figure out for myself how she really is doing.

It wasn’t too long ago that I set my mom up with everything to make her life easier. I went to the Medical Supply store and got all there was for comfort and necessity. I even got her new hearing aids. She was doing fine. Then she made a bad decision to go to rehab to get strength in her thighs to have surgeries. It was a bad idea and I told her so. I knew the outcome would be exactly what happened. But she didn’t listen to me. She has said she wished she listened. But it’s history now.

So, today is Thursday. I’ve been pretty sad since the weekend after hearing about the aide coming back at night. I have so many feelings swimming around in my head. I feel sad, I feel guilty, and I feel helpless. I haven’t been to the pool to exercise this week. My ear doesn’t feel right and I figure I better not risk getting water in it. But today I just had to do something because I was left feeling really bad about myself last night.
So I went to the library to look for pictures to use in my book for my grandson. I spent way too long looking and started feeling pain, but I wanted to walk in the park and get some sun, so I took the books I collected and left. I went to the park and I got beat up!
I couldn’t believe the parallel between beating me up mentally and being beat up while walking in the park. The day was windy, but beautiful. I was thinking about my mother and how I should be there every day to take care of her and all of a sudden my face was whipped with what felt like shards of glass. At first it took me for a loop and I couldn’t figure out how leaves could hurt so much.

I kept walking and before long I saw acorns on the path. I picked up a couple and that’s when I realized it was acorns that beat me up. It was like a good slap in the face, but it only lasted a minute. I went right back to feeling like crap.

So, as I’m walking my hips are killing me and I’m wondering if I can even make it once around the path. I start thinking about when I used to come to this park before I got sick and how many times I walked this path. I’d never counted but I certainly walked more than once and for hours. I had put two of my attackers in my pocket earlier, and took them out now and rolled them around in my hand for a minute. I thought it might get me to change my negative thoughts.

I now turn the bend in the walking path and see the swings where I used to swing with a boyfriend 11 years earlier. I wanted to swing again so I go off the beaten path (pun intended) and my eyes fixated on a swing. There was a young teenager on the far swing and three empty swings. I didn’t for one minute think I couldn’t swing. I don’t know why, but it never crossed my mind. Well, add to my getting beat up by acorns to experiencing one of the most humiliating moments in my life.

I get to the swing and turn my back to it to get on and I can’t pull myself up onto the swing. I have no strength in my arms and hands to lift myself up. Oh my gawd. I think, no way. I exercise 2 hours every other day, I can do this. I try again, this time pushing the swing under my butt thinking it will give me an edge. It does not. Now there are two younger girls running to the swings next to me and a father holding onto the swing poles staring at me. I try again and I can’t get on the swing. I look at the dad and I am so humiliated I can’t believe it. So I leave and continue walking.

Oh I forgot to mention another reason I’m feeling so sad. My 24 year old son, Bob, is currently in Lake Havasu City with friends. I lived there for a couple of years when my sons, Jim and Rich were about 3 and 6 years old until they were about 6 and 9. My sons know I absolutely love LHC. They have wanted to take me there many, many times, but I haven’t made it yet. I always say someday. Bob has been sending me pictures of the lake and asking me to set a date to go. Rich said we should all go in the summer, him and his new family, Bob, and me. Again, I said maybe.

It’s a double edged sword for me. Memories of my kids are precious. I love thinking of the happy times. But I was divorced in LHC after almost 10 years of marriage and their father never saw Jim and Rich again, (except for when they came to court with me for child support). It was in LHC where I met Bob’s father and was with him in Phoenix for 17 years before we divorced after again almost 10 years of marriage. He didn’t see Bob again either (except for when he popped back into our lives when Bob was 13 years old for about 6 months.) How sad is this paragraph?

I just had another revelation. I’m thinking maybe another reason I’m feeling so sad this week is because Bob isn’t here. He pops in whenever, so I’m always thinking I can’t be sad or be crying. Now that he’s not around, even for a few days, my guard may be let down. Not sure, but it just has me thinking this may be.

OK, I digressed; let me return to the park. I have to scroll up to see where I left off. I can’t believe all I’m writing. My hands are just typing away and I have no cramps, which is very odd. OK, so I’m walking the path again, after my humiliation. My hips are burning and I look at my watch and I haven’t even walked for 15 minutes yet! I feel stinging on my hand, so I look down and my pinky finger is bleeding. I guess I cut it on the chain trying to get on the swing. I’m still getting beat up! Oh my gawd.

As I reach where I began my walk I say to myself, walk it again. I know I can do this. So I kept walking. My hips didn’t hurt as much the second time around. I walked the path again and when I end up where I started, I know I can’t do it again. But I don’t want to go home yet. It’s so beautiful out and I know if I go home I’ll just feel sad. So I sit at a picnic table thinking all is good.

I start crying and I think, so much for my theory. Oh my gawd. Memories flood back to when I walked here with yet a different boyfriend 13 years ago, and then another potential boyfriend at a later time years ago. I start thinking about how I will never have another man in my life. The tears are really flowing now. My face starts stinging and I think it must be cut from the acorns. Then I feel the heat, I got sunburned! Oh my gawd, I’m still getting beat up.

I decide to just sit there and cry. What the hell. I’ll get it all out. I mean the acorns beat me up; the swing chain cut my finger, I was humiliated, my hips are hurting, my face is burning, I have guilt about my mother, I’m sad over memories of LHC and the loss of my son, I realize I’m going solo the rest of my life, what else could go wrong at the park?
So I sit, I think, I cry. I keep changing positions so I don’t turn into a lobster. I’m sitting facing the parking lot because the sun is setting and my legs were turning red facing west. I’m just sitting, thinking, and blubbering when a dog comes up to my left leg. Oh my gawd. I thought, you’ve got to be kidding. I’m going to get bit by a damn dog now? Holy shit on rye. The dog licks my leg and the owner calls her dog and he obeys right away and walks away. Wow. I couldn’t believe I did not get bitten by this dog.
As I sit there, for some reason the Beatles song, Yesterday, is singing in my head. It’s not a favorite of mine, but there it is singing in my head. Go figure. More tears.
I decide it’s time to go home. I walk to my truck and begin my drive home. I kid you not, this is the song that played on the way home, Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This.

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Short Story – I Got Beat At The Park By Mary Crocco
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