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We sat around the oaken table following the singing performance. My friend was sitting next to me; Eloise was sitting on my other side; and Joe sat quietly next to her. He seemed especially restrained after enjoying the music. I listened in to his conversation with Eloise:
Joe: I think it’s time for us to head home.
Eloise: Sure. That’s okay with me.
Joe: So, do you have the car keys? I can’t seem to find them (as he checks his pockets).
Eloise: No, I don’t have them either. (She casts a glance at me, one of perplexity and shrugs her shoulders.)
Joe: Well, we must have walked down the hill to come here. I don’t recognize any of the people here (as he looks around the room). Do you? We usually just walk from the Crown Towers.
Eloise: What? (She asks “what” every time Joe speaks to her.)
Joe: We must have walked (he says, leaning closer so she can hear him).
I watched this exchange, which went on for a minute or two, realizing that Joe’s anxiety and Eloise’s perplexity were growing with each passing moment. Finally, I caught Joe’s eye—
Me: Joe, I’m pretty sure that you live here.
Joe: I do? Okay (followed by a long pause).
Then he looked at me and shook his head slowly.
Joe: This getting old is sure hard, isn’t it? (We looked at each other nodding.)
Me: You’re right, Joe. It sure is.
* * * *
[Joe and Eloise are fictitious names; they are not a couple. They are both residents in the memory section of this facility, and have been there for quite a while.]Published in