We’ve come to see the movie Sex and the City. She is enjoying it. I am, too. She had a hard time, like she always does, climbing the movie theater stairs. Too dark, and she’s lost her sense of depth perception, so that every step is a slow, careful, am I falling over the edge one. Later, we’ll go eat dinner, and we won’t talk much. The light from the screen is strong enough that if I turn to my left, I can see her. I turn and think, I don’t want to lose you. Now that we’re all losing her mentally (she has mild Alzheimer’s), I am much more aware of the bigger and final loss to come. All the old hurts and grievances on my part just don’t matter anymore. I miss her vanity. She could never pass a mirror without admiring herself. I miss her dedicated shopping. She could shop in high heels, going through every store in town, until I, in flats, had to beg for mercy. I miss her lies. She would just out and out lie about the oddest things. I miss her orderliness. She could fold a circus tent into a thimble and always sniffed at my messiness. I miss her coldness. My sisters and I always swore that if we murdered our husbands, she would come over and calmly cut up the bodies and put the pieces in freezer bags and tell us to stop sniveling and get the blood cleaned up. She holds my hand now when we go out into the world. She had another side: charming, warm, fun, curious, practical, generous. But it’s her faults I miss so much.
Later, I think about the movie and its final reunion scene with the four friends and various husbands and children. There are no parents at the table. No siblings. Just these resilient four and their loves. I realize that Sex and the City always cut out the family in the telling of the tale, except for Miranda’s mother’s death and a scene or two with Steve’s mother. Oh, and Charlotte’s mother-in-law, Bunny. It’s like these four sprang forth fully formed from Zeus’s head, enscounced in New York, living the dream. Here I am in my hot humid city down south far too plump for designer clothes with my patchwork career and surrounded by family and sitting in a dark movie theater with my dotty Mom. Living my dream.