This Was Us
by Rachel DeSimone
“This was us,” she said as she handed me a comic that she had cut out of the paper and saved for me, un-creased like it had come from today’s paper but she had kept it for weeks. When I took it from my mom’s cracked and bloodied fingers I had already begun to put crinkles on the edges that she had kept straight. “Put it on your refrigerator,” she said. “I have one up on our fridge from the same comic.” That day we sat together in my parents’ bed for eight hours.
My mom has taken to reading the newspaper again since most of her time is spent in bed. When I was little she would get The New York Times on the weekends and not have time to read it so it would pile up until she would sit herself down one day with a giant stack and go through it all. That was too overwhelming. Now she gets The Daily News, which is much more manageable. Every day she sends me a text message with my horoscope from the paper. “This lady is really good,” she always says. I wait for the text to appear with capital letters “YOUR HORISCOPE!!!!” and tons of the red exclamation point emojis that no one uses because they are on the last page.
As I looked at the simple comic, a little boy and his dog, called “Red & Rover,” I didn’t quite see what she meant. The first frame of the comic showed the little boy and the dog sitting on the curb, the boy’s hand to his own ear and the dog’s ear standing at attention. In the corner of the box were musical notes. The next frame showed two clouds racing in the direction of the music (which must have been coming from an ice cream truck) and then the boy and dog strolling back both licking popsicles. As my mom watched my eyes finish scanning the paper she repeated, “that was us.” I stopped for a second, looked to the right, towards her bedroom window and it hit me... READ THE REST