Gordy had to use Mai’s cane to climb to his feet and once he was standing it was a trick to bring Mai up as well. Her legs didn’t bend at the joints like they had use to do. her back was stiff, and her muscles barely able to support her, let alone lift her to her feet. Gordy held her under the arms and with one hand on her cane she pushed up as he pulled her toward the sky, away from the earth, against gravity.
Wherever they were going Gordy wasn’t sure. But Mai seemed to have a destination in mind even if she didn’t tell Gordy about it. Sometimes Mai forgot who he was, mistook him for Larry, mumbled about Brian or Elsa teasing the cat, or expressed her concern about the Russians, but she never asked where they were going. When she looked out the windshield her eyes, when Gordy caught a glance of them, were filled with light and brightness. Something was on the horizon he couldn’t see.
That night Mai fell asleep early before Gordy had stopped driving. As he pulled over to a small turn off to catch some Zs he imagined Brian arriving at the house twelve hours ago and wondering where his mother and father had gone. He’d have called Gordy, then Elsa, then Gordy again, then Else again, then sworn a bunch and maybe kicked one of the potted plants on the stoop and maybe it broke scattering dirt across the walkway and into the grass where the brown of topsoil and the green of spring mixed and became muddy. Then Brian would have called the nursing home and asked if for some reason Gordy and Mai had gone there before he arrived and when Brian found out that wasn’t the case he would kick another pot, then call Elsa again and despite what Elsa said, he would call the police. But the police wouldn’t ever find Gordy or Mai–Gordy knew, because wherever they were going Gordy could tell, by the glint in Mai’s eyes when she looked at that horizon, that it wasn’t a place where people like Brian or Elsa or the police could follow.
The next day they passed through Williams Lake and Gordy stopped and bought some food–chips, bananas, a couple apples, and the only ripe pear he could find in the store. Mai wanted a popsicle so he bought her one–mango flavored. In the car she unwrapped it and licked it with her old tongue which turned orange immediately. Gordy cut one of the apples into thin slices with his knife and ate those.
When they headed back out on the road Mai seemed agitated. With the one hand not attending to the popsicle, she pressed the dash and drummed her fingers–something Gordy hadn’t seen her do in years. He was surprised she had the coordination to do it.
“Is everything alright?” he asked.
She slurped on the popsicle and looked to the side and out the window to the passing of the fields and forests and green yonder in the distance.
“Is everything alright?” Gordy asked again.
“Passing us all by,” she said.