“Where should we start?” I ask.
“Maybe at either end,” shrugs the nurse.
We glance at each other – my love and I – and nod in agreement.
She takes the head, I take the feet, working towards each other.
“Nice and warm,” I say.
“Microwave,” says the nurse. “I can put in more if you want.”
“We should be alright,” I say. “She’s not very big.”
I pull her toes apart and clean in between.
“Wonderful!” she had sighed as I massaged hand cream into her soles, marvelling as her bird-like toes unfurled from their spasm. “Why didn’t you tell me you were so good at this?”
Tarsals. Metatarsals. What’s the anklebone called?
When the wipe cools, I drop it into the bedpan.
I work my way up her hairless shins and calves.
See my love lifting my mother’s breasts to clean places unseen.
I work my way up her thighs. Left and right. Front and back. Lifting her legs at the knee. Taking my time. Summoning courage.
I glance at my love.
When she nods, I take a fresh wipe and dive down the crease, deep into my mother’s groin, pretend I’m spring cleaning the house of my birth.
[Originally published online: richarddenooy.com]
Richard de Nooy grew up in Johannesburg, but has lived in Amsterdam for the past 30 years. He writes his novels in English and Dutch. You can read more via his website: richarddenooy.com, facebook: facebook.com/richarddenooy and twitter: twitter.com/RicharddeNooy.
Image: via the Author