Strange conversations in laundry rooms. Photo CC by Thomas Abbs

Strange conversations in laundry rooms. Photo CC by Thomas Abbs

“When I’m gone,” my mom’s voice carried to the kitchen where I sat working at the kitchen table. A spot that became my office the moment my mom came to live with us. As these things roll down the hill, sort of like dominoes but not really, my office became my son’s itty bitty corner of the house – which worked a little better at the time when he wasn’t over 6’2″. Even so, we make it work now.

I was already distracted by the fact that my mom and my son were in the laundry room anyway. I mean what exactly were they doing in there in the first place? I know the logical answer is, well, laundry, but since my son resists that at every turn, and my mom loves the stuff – not something that was genetically handed down to me, I might add – it was kind of odd they were in that room of the house together for any reason.

It was also odd that I would pick up on what my mom was saying because a lot of what she says just flows over me. There’s no other way to describe her ability to talk except to say that she’s a magpie. A very loquacious – 25 cent word! – magpie who chatters every moment she gets – years ago my dad and I would joke that if there was no one around to talk to, she’d talk to a tree -. Sometimes I tell her she has to be quiet for as long as she can while I try to work. The longest that’s happened is about 4 minutes. I know this because I was actually watching the clock instead of working because I was so curious to see how far she could go without uttering a word. Four minutes is the max. I kid you not.

Anyway, I was more than a little curious as to where she was going because it’s quite the production to get her anywhere with all her accoutrements – another 25 cent word! Usually I’m involved on some level to get her from point A to point B, or to go out with someone. So the fact that she was going somewhere was news to me.

So I did what any sane person would under the circumstances, I interrupted a conversation between family members that I wasn’t even a part of.

“Where are you going?” I asked, twisting around in my chair to get a better look at what was going on in the laundry room. Silence met my question as both my mom and my son – also known as the short and the tall of it – looked at me.

“You know,” my mom answered after a moment or two. “When I’m gone.”

And, that was it. No other explanation was needed. It was just, That Gone, the going out, never coming back gone that we all live as though doesn’t exist, but can happen at any time.

But, honestly, now that I think about it, she may have been worried that my son wouldn’t be able to do his own laundry when she “was gone” which totally fits. This is enough to make you smile, because if that’s the only thing you have to worry about when you go, life is pretty good.

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