She clutched Richie’s hand, held on, it seemed, for dear life. She pleaded. He tried to smooth her still fingers, then patted them reassuringly.
“You ARE home, Momo.”
“No–I’ve got to go home. Now. Help me, honey–where did they put my clothes? Trudy needs me.”
So he lugged her suitcase from the top shelf of the closet and they packed. She folded the blue nightie and tried to ball her socks, but her hands fumbled the stretchy cotton.
“Here, let me,” he said.
“I saw the horse again last night. Right out there,” she pointed towards the window. “He slept under the tree.” Richie started with “There’s no … ” but stopped himself.
On top went the yellow sweater and last of all her underbroekes, she called them. Her hands patted everything down and tucked in the edges. Those same hands that had tucked in four-year-olds and pushed back hair test for fever with the back of her hand. Those hands whose fingers wrinkled prune-like after canning forty quarts of tomatoes. The hands that lifted the trailer hitch to the car to take the kids camping.
“Let’s sit a minute before we go, Grandma” and he patted the spot next to him on the bed, then reached again for her hand–the hand he held onto for dear life.