07:44:46 am on
Thursday 29 Oct 2020

Just One Glimpse
AJ Robinson

Over the years, I’ve seen photographs and videos offering me a glimpse of a great many odd events, items and people. There have been glimpses of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs and aliens, ghosts and the odd demonic creature of lore. Some were exciting, but others were downright lame, especially as I got older and was able to see through the implicit absurdity.


Then I saw a true vision.

Just the other day, though, I saw an image that was far better than any of those mentioned. I saw a true vision.

My mother is in a long-term care facility in Naples, Florida. Due to the coronavirus, the facility is in lock down, which means no visitors. It’s been months since I’ve seen her or she me or other members of the family, which hurts us all.

My brother, Greg, and his family have done window visits. They also held a parade by her window, but that’s been the extent of family contact with her. We’d tried calling her, but she never answered the phone in her room.

Then, the other day, Greg gave us a new means of contacting her. He said to contact the facility early in the day and ask the staff to call us using their iPad so we could FaceTime with her. We called ahead to schedule the call, with mom, which was a minor inconvenience; I gave them the phone number of my wife, Jo Ann and we set a time.

At the appointed moment, the phone rang. Jo Ann answered it on her iPad. The iPad affords a bigger screen and it’d be easier to see mom and she us.

Once we activated FaceTime, we saw the nurse and I smiled. Although I didn’t know her or couldn’t see her face, I was glad because I could see the level of precaution she was taking. She had a full gown, gloves, mask, and facial protection.

Yes, much protection in place, which I found a relief. The image moved and seemed to float about as the nurse carried the iPad down the hall to my mother’s room. As she neared the room, I heard my mom’s voice. My heart leapt with joy. Then the iPad was in her hands and Jo Ann and I smiled and laughed.


Mom has never been tech savvy.

She tries hard. She held the iPad the wrong way and thus all we could see was the top of her head (above). Yes, it was only a glimpse of her, but it still turned my mood into a warm summer day, with the hint of a breeze.

We tried talking with mom. Once more technology thwarted our efforts. Her hearing aids batteries were dead. Try as we might, we just couldn’t get her to hear us.

We shouted, loudly. I was concerned we’d disturb the neighbours. Mom kept telling us her hearing aids were dead and to please tell Greg to get her new batteries.

I shouted that I would do so, but she never heard a word. Eventually, we had to give up. She just couldn’t hear us; no amount of hollering and cajoling could get her to cooperate.

So, sadly and with great regret, we had to sign off. I wept and, yet, I shed no tears of sorrow or regret. Mine were huge tears of joy.

I had seen and heard my mom. She was a little rough, a bit confused and all we ever saw was the top of her head. It was enough. After months of her sequestering, confined almost completely incommunicado, to get even the tiniest view of her sent my spirits soaring.

My heart was up among the clouds. I slept especially well that night. I was walking on air for days.


Not enough but better than nothing.

At some point in the future we will FaceTime again. Maybe we’ll see her entire face. Until then, just a glimpse is enough to keep us happy.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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