Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Conversation over Breakfast

One of the hardest parts of elder care is role reversal. Apparently, it bothers Bea, too. We discuss the subject yet again one morning early.

BEA: “You’re my daughter, and I’m your mother. So I should take care of you.”

ME: “You did. Now it is my turn.”

BEA, after much thought: “Thank you.”

Bea is eating ice cream, slowly, savoring each spoonful. She pauses again and furrows her brow. That grey matter is getting a real workout today.

BEA: “I guess I’m just one of those queer people …”

I wait for her to elucidate but she doesn’t.

ME: “What do you mean?”

BEA: “People who don’t die.”

ME: “Oh! Well, you’ll die soon enough. In the meantime, we can enjoy having you here with us.”

Bea offers a faint, slighted embarrassed smile, like a young girl who has been told she is pretty by people she has only just met.

BEA: “What is the name of this place?”

I am not sure whether she is asking about Wellfleet or not. So I choose not, seizing the opportunity for self-promotion, a behavior that has become second-nature.

ME: “Chez Sven Bed & Breakfast, which makes sense since you’re having breakfast. Imagine, a place that serves chocolate ice cream instead of scrambled eggs and bacon!”

BEA: “Sounds ideal …”

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