July 31, 2012
On Friday Alice learned from Celia’s son that his mother was, indeed, dying and it was happening quickly.
Later in the day, however, I called the nursing home and at once found myself in the peculiar zone of contradictory information that Alice had entered last week when she was trying to get news of Celia’s well-being. (See Sightings.)
I explained my concerns to the nurse on duty, who seemed surprised at the mention of imminent death, and I was taken aback when she told me that, although she could not give me details, Celia was fine.
How could she be fine?
What strange material is the veil that covers Celia and her whereabouts and her well-being.
Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2012
“Everyone is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.”
- Jane Austen
Celia fell in her apartment several weeks ago and left The Place to recover in the hospital and then a nursing home.
Since then, she and Alice have spoken twice by phone. The conversations proved frustrating for both. Alice couldn’t hear, and Celia talked grimly about an uncertain future. She might come back to The Place, or she might have to move to another nursing home. Her living situation, she said, was no longer in her hands.
They gave up on phone calls. Alice has faced her friend’s long absence armed with nothing more than hope.
Then on Saturday, as lunchtime ended, the woman Alice calls the Bead Lady came to her table in the dining room.
The Bead Lady makes her own jewelry and usually likes to talk about the craft. But this time she touched Alice’s shoulder and told her how sad she felt that Celia had passed away.
She talked for a while in sympathetic tones but Alice couldn’t hear her. Finally, the Bead Lady pushed her walker toward the elevator, leaving Alice speechless and wondering if this news could be true.
In Alice’s mind, the Bead Lady seemed the weakest link in the slender chain of people around Celia. In fact, Alice had never even seen the two of them talking to one another. Was this some awful misunderstanding about Celia’s absence from the dining room or, given the wall of secrecy around health issues, had something happened Alice didn’t know about?
She set off to find out.
July 16, 2012
Alice arrived in Portland and moved into The Place four years ago.
Even though she always says she doesn’t like it here, she still wants to celebrate this anniversary. She suggested going to the Dollar Store. We may do that Wednesday or Thursday.
But today I’m going to revisit a post about how she got here:
The Reluctant Traveler
For years after my father died, every time Alice and I talked about moving her from Iowa to Oregon, she claimed there was no way to get her here. Planes were out, she said; she’d traveled by airplane only twice, back in the 1980s, and both times she’d been removed via ambulance. Panic attacks. Read the rest of this entry »
July 12, 2012
Every day at 4:30 p.m., Mirabel descends from her upstairs apartment to play the grand piano that sits just off the dining room at The Place. She plays until 5:00 p.m. Alice hates every minute of it.
July 5, 2012
Alice lit up when I told her KD Lang had recently moved to Portland. She clasped her hands together and asked if it was possible we might run into her.
KD Lang had been one of her favorite singers back in the days when Alice’s hearing was fully intact. (During this same time period, Paula Poundstone was her favorite comedienne until Ellen DeGeneres came along. Are you catching a drift here?)