The repetition, over and over, again and again. The same stories.
Each time we pass this neighbor's house, I hear that she has a new husband.
Each time we drive past the diner she comments on their tasteless meatloaf.
Each time we drive past a certain tree stump, she says it looks like a mailbox.
Each time we pass the old boarded up restaurant she tells me about a neighbor of ours who liked to eat there, forty-five years ago.
Each time we see the mountain, she tells me about climbing it when she was in high school.
Yesterday, there was new news. Her church has a new minister. Then she told me this new news again and again, every hour, all day.
A few months ago, the electrical crew was in her yard, clearing branches away from the power lines and poles. I was there that day, and I heard the trucks and saw the workers. I called to Mom, to come see. All we could see was a bright orange hardhat above the field of grass. For the next five visits and six phone calls, she told me a story about seeing a pumpkin in her yard, but it was really an orange hardhat. I listened attentively each time I heard the story. But, after the ump-teenth retelling, I got upset. I really got upset.
Mom, I remember you telling me this story already, and it is kind of funny, but what really hurts me the most, is that I was with you that day, I pointed out the hardhat to you, we had a good laugh about it together that day. But, when you tell me that story, you don't remember me with you, you don't remember laughing together about it, you don't tell people "my daughter and I saw the funniest thing", you tell the story like I wasn't even there.