“Do you want to hear that wonderful Italian singer?” I ask.
“No. Let me sleep.”
With a shrug, I do as told.
When I peek into the room at lunchtime, Bea smiles at me.
“They’re there,” she says softly, extending a boney arm towards the ceiling. I watch her trace a line from right to left. “There. Don’t you see them?”
“Who is there?”
“They are.” Bea is having difficulty articulating, a frustrating new development. Again she raises her arm slowly and indicates an area near the door.
Bea says something that sounds like Emma, the name of her stepmother.
“Emma?” I ask. “Bertha? Helen?” (all members of her family).
Bea looks at me with exasperation.
“Is Daddy there?” (I know she has seen him in the past.)
No!” Bea is quite emphatic. She gives a little shrug as if about ready to give up on me but tries one more time: “There, there!”
I look back up at the ceiling. Neither of us speaks.
Then Bea says, “I don’t understand why she didn’t come and take me.”
“Who are up you talking about?”
“Whoever she is ….”
Bea turns her head toward the far side of the pillow and closes her eyes.