Elizabeth shuffled on her feet. There, in front of her was her mother, of whom she, all her conscious life, thought was dead. And she looked almost dead now, as she sat there motionless in her chair, her face muscles atrophied after many years of not being used. Smooth and even with not trace of a wrinkle. Neither those of sadness, nor those of merriness.
Only her eyes, full of tears now, showed that she was alive. And her heavy breath, as Elizabeth started noticing. And her trembling hands.
Elizabeth searched for the pockets in her tight jeans and hooked her thumbs in them. “Um.” What should I say? Slowly and with trepidation she raised her gaze to her mother’s eyes.
Claire blinked several times. Her tears fell on her cheeks and ran down heading to her motionless neck supporting only the tiny for an adult head leaning on the headrest behind it.
Elizabeth panicked. She felt her hands raising to her waist. Shall I wipe the tears?
Claire’s eyes gazed in front of her.
Elizabeth followed her gaze, looked at the brightly lit spot on the wall, and read. “No, you don’t have to.” What? Did I say those words out loud?
Claire typed, “Yes you did. :-)”
Elizabeth turned to Claire. “Oh. I’m sorry. I just—” Then as she saw her mother typing, Elizabeth turned back to read.
“Look here at my right.” Claire’s fingers flew across the keyboard. “There is another keyboard. We can chat together. It might make things easier for you.”
Elizabeth looked and saw the second white keyboard with several brightly coloured smiley-stickers grinning in all directions from its perimeter. She noticed Claire typing again and turned to the wall to read.
“Alice, Ingrid and most visitors who make it up here find chatting with me in writing easier. Only children and Patrick talk to me directly.”
“How do they do it?” Elizabeth was surprised about her own question. She turned to Claire thinking that it was unthinkable to talk to the screen instead of her mother. Claire’s eyes smiled without producing wrinkles around them. Then they guided Elizabeth’s back to the wall.
“They do it, just like you did. They look at the screen on the wall when they talk to me. But…they sit close to me…when they do this.”
“Let’s start with chatting, shall we? :-))))) Will the chair below the keyboard suit you?”
Elizabeth shook her head sideways. She needed to shake this confusion away. She turned hurriedly to her mother. “Yes, yes.” Then she walked to the chair, lifted the wireless keyboard, sat and put it on her knees. Big red sticker with words “Push here”, which she didn’t notice before directed her to the “ON” button. She pressed it and stopped. What shall I ask? Should I maybe say, no, write, something, I don’t know…nice maybe, before asking? But what?
Words on the wall appeared. “It’s OK. Let’s take it slow. I don’t think I will fall asleep for another hour. I am too excited to see you. Would you like me to tell you what happened?…To you…here?”
Elizabeth drew a deep breath and typed. “Yes, please. But before that…Before that, please tell me what happened to you…I…I don’t remember, I’m afraid. I don’t remember…you.” Tears clouded Elizabeth’s eyes and hindered her to delete what she had just typed.
Picture: Barborky cut by my son, husband and father-in-law during past winter holidays and blooming now in my parents-in-law’s living room.
P.S. Chapter 12 will be written and posted latest in two weeks time.
P.P.S. You can find the complete story written so far at “Free Online Books”.
P.P.P.S. If you think your friends might enjoy this story, then let them know about it and forward it to them.
Everything except one paragraph (1st paragraph in Chapter 1) of “Nothing is As it Seems” is under copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels