Saturday, June 24, 2006

When the War is Over

I am looking at photos of myself as a baby, retrieved for comparison with Juliette’s baby pictures. Bea looks down at me with adoration. I have my head tilted toward the camera, held by a professional photographer. Bea worked as a model for a while and is posing. Her mouth is closed. She probably started talking again as soon as the photo was taken. I was lucky to have such a verbal mother. When I worked with toddlers, I developed a method of stimulating neurons through speech. Now I cannot help but wonder if Bea’s constant chatter did not have an influence?

Today Bea isn’t very verbal. She seems a bit depressed, although her cough has almost disappeared. I sit by her bedside for a while, once my chores are done. I have put a fan by her window, in order to keep the air circulating. The only sound is its slow whir. It has become awfully humid. Wearing plastic underwear in hot weather cannot be fun. I guess I wouldn’t want to talk much either.

Suddenly Bea looks up and says, “I’m so glad someone is sitting here. It makes all the difference.”

I feel pleased to be acknowledged, grateful that my presence serves a purpose. We sit there in silence for a while more. Then Bea says, “I’ll be glad when the war is over.”

Now, it is not at all clear which war she is referring to – World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnamese War, the war in Iraq – so many have taken place during her lifetime. But I agree. All war is awful.

“I’ll be glad when war is over, too,” I say.

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