excerpt from: the little girl with a bow in her hair
I looked at the time and noticed it was a little after 2 in the afternoon. I was hoping we could check in, relax for a couple of hours, then dinner, then maybe a game of cards; gin rummy. I had to admit I was a little weary, as I was carrying special cargo and was emotionally drained from the outset of this trip.
We were able to check in to a room with 2 queen beds. Baba and Mom decided they would share and I would have one to myself. We took the stairs up to the second floor, opened the door, placed our luggage down, put on the TV, and sat on our respective beds. Mom wanted to watch her soaps so I surfed through the channels to find ‘As the World Turns’.
It was five o’clock and we all began to feel hungry. We decided we would eat in the hotel. We freshened up and walked down to the restaurant. We noticed very few people in the restaurant and asked the waiter, why? He told us there was a big wedding reception tonight in the St. Lawrence Room, so the restaurant was closing early as the staff were needed.
‘I guess it was good we came now’ I said.
‘Yes it was’ the waiter answered.
Dinner was ordered and served which included the imbibing of a little wine.
Following an hour of good food, company and conversation, we returned to our room to sit and watched TV. Mom sat on a chair and Baba and I each took a bed to lounge on.
I can’t recall when I fell asleep, but woke up at 10:30 p.m. to find Baba curled up in her Queen size bed and Mom nowhere in sight. I was a bit groggy so assumed she had gone to the bathroom. I waited.
Fifteen minutes went by and Mom still did not return to bed. I figured I would grab my pj’s and head to the washroom to change, when I noticed she was not in the bathroom as I had thought. She was gone. Now I began to panic. Where would she have gone? I decided I would let Baba sleep while I exited the room and shut the door quietly behind me. There were so many things going through my mind, why did she leave, was she sick, did she go to get ice? I ran through the hallway, down the stairs, and was going to check with the concierge when I heard a male voice announce the next song was for Marilyn; ‘Who loves you’ by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Ah, that must be the wedding reception that the waiter spoke to us about. To this day I do not know what made me walk towards the music, but glad I had. One of the doors was open and I peered in. I scanned the crowd and what did I see? Mom. Mom? Oh my God! She was dancing with a young girl in the middle of the dance floor. She seemed to be teaching her how to dance and singing to her. I slowly walked in and sauntered over to her through the crowd. She saw me and came over to me, grabbed my arm and began to dance with me while singing… who loves you pretty baby, who’s gonna love ya mama? I tried not to make a scene by holding her hand and pulling her towards the door. The song was ending and I couldn’t help but think everyone was looking at us. This was my chance to grab her and take her out of the room. Just then, ‘Oh what a night’ began to play. Noooo….
She pulled me back to the middle of the dance floor and began to sing ‘oh what a night, late December back in ’63, what a very special time for me, as I remember what a night’…
I looked over at the bride and saw she was smiling. She danced her way over to us. Great, busted. The music was so loud she couldn’t hear me apologize by saying we were not crashing her wedding, explaining my Mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and how very sorry I was that she was here. I tried to explain that she loved music and had left our room and must have walked towards the sound. The bride smiled, danced, and nodded. Was the bride saying this was okay? I highly doubted it, but next thing I realized was that I was not holding on to my Mom’s hand anymore. Mom had danced her way over to a little girl and there they were, dancing together. I could feel the wedding guests and bridal party eyes upon us now. I looked at the floor, made my way over to Mom, figuring if I had no eye contact, I would be invisible. Yeah, right, like that would work. For an instant, I looked over at Mom and the little girl; they seemed to be having fun. There was no fear on the little girls face and she kept grabbing my Mom’s hands, which brought a big smile to both their faces. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. How was I going to remove Mom from this room without a scene? Should I seek out a person in the wedding party and explain the situation? Should I just go back to the room and curl up in a ball? My emotions reeled from embarrassment to fear to anxiousness. I hoped the next song would be a slow song so I could grab Mom and make a quick exit. Just like everything in my life if I have a 50/50 chance of being right, I always lose. Now I was becoming impatient. Oh God, No! The next song that came on was ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, no kidding. I was beginning to think that there really WAS a mountain high enough in order to get to Mom.