“I’m sorry and I just wish that I could take this from you.” Jane sobbed while Florence felt words escape her mind. It wasn’t that Florence couldn’t think of what to say because she did not feel empathetic, she just couldn’t think of words because of the brain fog. It was so cloudy in her mind and she needed it to clear so she could have this day with her mother. The delay she felt when finding words made her feel ignorant, as if she had never spoken correctly in her lifetime.
“You have nothing to be sorry for. But I am here now and I want to enjoy the time we have today. And… I really want to cook fish tonight.” Florence had brought her mom fishing, as this is something she always wanted to share with Jane, instead of the normalcy of shopping. Florence was sitting in the foldable chair, back hunched as she balanced the pole in between her knees, while opening the bottle of water she pulled from the mini ice chest. Louisiana offered such beautiful views and now, Florence and Jane sat on a dock in Manchac, fishing like the people did on the sides of the road. The backdrop was simple but breathtaking. Dark blue sky met choppy blue-green peaks in front of them. The brackish water had a unique smell that only could be described by Florence as her “happy”. The dock, all of the thirty-two boards underneath the two women’s feet, were a discolored gray and had splinters visibly reaching out of the wood.
“Flor, I don’t think anything’s biting.” Minutes had gone by and the only sound was the occasional boat that neared and faded, leaving a wake pushing the fishing lines back to the pier. They had only been on the dock for an hour now. Florence laughed to herself because she knew it wouldn’t last. Jane noticeable could not handle three things: outside, heat, and bugs. “Maybe we could buy some fish on the way home.” Jane smiled hoping to make her daughter smile too.
“Nope, this is making memories! Love it, or hate it. You’re spending quality time!” Florence sang her statements to her mother, smiling and laughing. Jane smiled as well, giving into the demands of her daughter.
Florence and Jane hadn’t always been close. There were missed moments, missed memories for both of them. When Jane seemed ready for Florence to be close, Florence was nowhere to be found. Florence, nor Jane, knew if that was on purpose or just sheer coincidence. No matter, the relationship that came about still, well, it appeared out of nothing. Florence thought about this fact, as she often did, and as she looked at her mother, brunette with wired gray hairs emerging out of the ponytail held down with hairspray, she realized this was the way everything was meant to happen. Jane’s green-grey eyes met Florence’s stare.
“What’s wrong? Are you ok?” Frantic with frown lines, Jane jumped up and started to walk over to Florence. Her mother was beautiful and looked like a younger version of her grandmother.
“I’m fine! Just thinking.” Florence was intensely scared for her mother. No matter how much the nagging and fighting the two had between them, or non-issues, if Florence left the world in two months, she worried if her mother would be able to move on. Jane did not know if she could either, and Florence also knew this. In her mind, Florence committed herself to finding a way to let Jane know this was the way their lives were meant to be. At this thought, Florence felt tears in her right eye.