"Nurse, nurse," my mother said. "Why is this ward called Stone Op?"
Her voice echoed in the ward, which I couldn't see because we were speaking on the phone.
"Snowdrop?" a voice echoed back. "I don't know."
"Maybe it's very pure," my mother said. "It's been a while since I heard from you. Where are you?"
"We spoke yesterday," I said. "I'm in New York."
"Oh, that is such a long way away," my mother exclaimed. "I thought you were at home."
But I was at home. As much as I love my mother, I am afraid of the empty spaces and ghosts in her house, which is also my home, but not one I can live in for very long. And I am afraid of her weak heart and labored breathing.
"The coffee here tastes like rubber tires," my mother said. "I like cups of tea, of course."
"I'll help you get some good cups of tea when I get there," I said.
"When will that be?"
"Not tomorrow morning but the next one," I said.
"That is such a very long time away," she said.
Over the past four years, I rushed home numerous times, every time my mother saying it may be the last time I would see her. But my mother's will to live kept her moving forward, believing she would make a full recovery. I wished that she was right so I could stay in one place for a while, knowing that she was okay.
When I got the emergency call, I didn't rush over. I believed that she would recover, as she always does. But because she wants to see me, and wants to get that really good cup of tea, I'll be on my way there tomorrow.
"Monday seems terribly far away," she said again.