The dishwasher swish-swashed through its wash cycle. Still, the rainbird drank from full water pressure that spit out flowers and tweeting birds that flitted across the lawn. Just as all the flowers had landed and the tweeting birds had found the high wire, it was the dishwasher’s turn to flush soapy water down the drain and take a long drink of fresh water that began the rinse and the feral cats ran to escape.
I hopped, one footed, diagonally across the kitchen tiles, counting the beats of the swish-swash, and avoiding the cracks in the timing of the rainbird. One foot might work, but only if I had enough hands.
Mother asked for a bag of ice from the freezer in the garage. Hand 1 gripped the key to the side garage door and reached towards the garage.
Mother can’t reach behind her toilet to clean the bathroom floor. Hand 2 swiped the Lysol drenched sponge around the base of the toilet in the hall bathroom.
Mother has decided to work on some art and needs fine point, colored markers. Hand 3 took the Visa card and headed for the corner Walgreens.
Mother will only drink purified, filtered, reverse osmosis water. Hand 4 balanced the three empty, two gallon water bottles and left for the grocery store.
Mother’s scoliosis has twisted her back and made walking painful but she can walk enough to see that there are empty spots in the flower garden, so seeds and plants from Armstrong Garden Center at the ready, hand 5 digs holes in the garden soil.
Mother rests well at night, usually somewhere between eight and twelve hours. The house is quiet and dark and it is the one time that I can block out her needs and try to rest. That is I might rest if I could find a bed large enough for all these hands. They get in the way, getting tangled under me when I turn from side to side in my sleep. They remind me each day I’ll need to stretch. In fact, I’m sure there’s something else that needs doing because this morning when I woke up, there was a sixth hand. There had to be, or else how could I type this?