Yeah, until you find out that your name is too obscure to be found on a “personalized kid’s water bottle.”
Nobody really cares until you give them a reason.
“If you don’t want to help yourself, then what am I supposed to do?”
“Nothing. Just go – go socialize with your kids.” She waves her hands away.
He blinks. “They’re your grandkids.”
For a moment, her expression changes – she’s focusing on a different point. Her posture falters, and she takes a deep breath.
“They’re your kids.” She couldn’t find a better answer.
That’s your only response? His furrowed his brows. “Hey, why do you have to make this about the kids?” He said. He stopped himself from saying any more. Any more, and he’d be venturing outside of the “objective journalist” style of interrogation. He’d be injecting his own opinion into it; a loaded question.
She blew air through her nose. Like a bull. An old, meek, and depressed bull.
“Hey, man. All you gotta do is tell me what’s wrong – I’ll -”
“Try to fix it. Yeah. But it’s just… I’m getting older, you know?” She drummed her fingers on the armrest. “Lost the will to eat. Don’t get excited anymore.” She laid back and stared at the ceiling, like a psychologist’s patient.
He sat for a while, trying to come up with a response. “And – no. I – what will make you… want to keep living?”
“I…” She trailed off, looking to the side, as if the all the answers to her problems lied in an old grey-tiled floor. “I don’t want to be a burden.” She turned to him, straight-faced.
He took a breath in. Déjà vu. Haven’t we been through this before? He put his hand on his chin, as if he were going to say something new. But he wasn’t. “You’re not a burden.” He seemed to need to reassure her every two minutes.
“But I feel like one.”
He knew that it wasn’t easy to change someone’s feelings. He knew that he should stay calm. But his breaths became hurried. You could’ve heard the deep breaths behind two doors. There was a fire in his eyes.
He opened his mouth to speak.
He closed his mouth before anything other than a breath came out.
She adjusted herself in her seat. Her foot twitched.
There was something hanging in the air. There were a lot of things that the two disagreed on, but now, there was one thing that they could both clearly point out: the air was a little stuffier than usual.
A gulp. Another faint breath.
“You’re being quite stubborn about this.”
“You know, a lot of guys would hate to see you gone -”
“I know. That’s why I’m still here.”
“But you’re still not eating.” He pointed out.
“I… I just can’t be bothered, really.”
He wiped a finger on his forehead. No sweat, but the motion seemed to alleviate his furrowed brows. “You still want to live?”
“…” She ran her tongue around the insides of her mouth. “You know, it’s not that I don’t want to live. It’s just a sort of apathy, you know? A lack of… a lack of motivation, yeah.”
“Are you depressed? Dissatisfied with anything?” He asked, waving his hands around.
“I suppose…” She responded meekly. “You know, I’ve been mulling over the idea of immortali-”
“Yeah…” He interrupted. Not that again. He wasn’t gonna go down that five-hour tangent rabbit hole again.
He tried to look somewhere else. Anywhere but at her face. Anywhere that would point him away from the frustration of talking to his stubborn, depressed, 73-year old mom.
The clock. “Come on, we’ve gotta go in five minutes. Let’s… let’s just talk about this later.” He got up.
She sat still in her chair, only grunting in response.