Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mary Poh, Checking Out The Shadow World


Mary spent her last few months living in what's usually referred to as the psycho ward of the county public hospital. Her memory was shot and she'd become paranoid of everything and everybody. She was convinced that people were breaking into her trailer and stealing her valuable antiques. She used to have a lot of them, but that was about twenty years ago when she still had her antique shop. They'd long ago been sold. She didn't remember that part, but she could describe the antiques in brutal detail.

About twenty years ago she sold her little two bedroom house and moved back to Pennsylvania, but couldn't take the cold. Soon she was back here in North Miami, living in a rental trailer and suplementing her Social Security by haunting yard sales.She sold her finds to the antique shops in the area. She was a "picker", in the slang of the antique trade. When failing eyesight put an end to her driving all that came to a halt. Her landlord let her move into a smaller less expensive trailer, the one in the background. Towards the end he let her gradually slip a few months behind.

The owner of the neighborhood independent gas station was amazed when I told him that she wasn't my mother, that she wasn't even related to me, yet I was always driving her around. He'd slip an extra buck's worth of gas in my tank just about whenever she was with me. After she went in the hospital he was always asking about her. I hated it when it came time to tell him that she'd left us for good.

She avoided the sun. Her pale complexion burned easily, and the glare made it difficult to see, what with cataracts in both eyes. Here her friend Modina and I are out enjoying the late afternoon sun while Mary is hiding in the shadows over on the left. Mary is gone forever now, living only in the memories of those of us that loved her.

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