It wasn’t the first time she’d hit me. In fact, it was the third time this week.
I knew it was inevitable that Mum wouldn’t be able to live with me forever, but
the thought of the alternative was simply unpalatable.
I’d know when our co-habiting days had come to a natural end.
It was the unpredictable nature of her violent outbursts that concerned me the most. Today’s incident came completely left of field.
Mum had adored cooking all her life, and although dementia had robbed her of many things, she remained extremely resourceful in the kitchen.
We’d started to prepare dinner early. Although Mum couldn’t remember the name of the meat laid out neatly in front of her, she was immediately familiar with the role of the meat tenderiser.
I stood chopping the vegetables on the workbench directly under the window. Fields stretched out in front of me like a beautiful patchwork quilt. An unexpected sunset bought a silent smile to my face.
In a moment of lapsed concentration Mum had left her work station, wooden hammer aloft. With some force she brought it down hard on my right shoulder. Seconds before the weapon was bludgeoning the last of the life out of our protein source.
The blow had caused my knife to slip.
A flap of skin hung from my index finger.
Having fulfilled her unwarranted impulse, Mum had now returned to her chair by the fire. I could hear her gentle humming over the click clicking of her knitting needles.
Requiring some further suffering to give weight to my decision, I grabbed a pinch of salt from the salt pig letting it fall into the open wound.
I felt the agonising burn in the end of my pulsing finger.
It’s time I thought. It’s time.