Thursday, September 11, 2014

Is anyone all right?

In Linda McCullough Moore's fourth story, "Is Anyone All Right?" in her book of short stories, This Road Will Take Us Closer To The Moon, she describes a first date between two people who apparently have met on Match.com. They have agreed to go to a movie. It is awkward and the guy keep asking the gal, "Are you all right?" thus the title of the story. Here's how Moore ends the story:

"Are you all right?" Bob says.
He's a nice man. He really is.
"Are you all right? he says.
"Of course not," I say.
I'm giving him the only hopeful answer that I know.
I mean, imagine: this my life, I all right.

And are any of us all right? As the title asks, "Is anyone all right?" And we are expected to be polite and say something like, "Yes, thank you. I'm fine." when we both know that is not exactly the truth.

My 91 year old mother was a day or two away from her death and she had been sleeping a lot. My 31 year old niece was sitting by her bedside when mom awoke and as I was walking by mom's bedroom door Magen was excited and said, "David, come in. Grandma's awake." I poked my head in the door and said, "Hi, mom, How are you feeling?" And very uncharacteristically my sweet, kind, submissive, usually tender mother snarled at me, "How do you think I'm feeling!"

Yeah, I thought to myself stupid question. "Like shit!" would have been the right answer. Two days later she died of only what I can describe as "old age" that is: just lost the will to live any longer. She apparently, was not all right.

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