Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dementia Blogging, 1/11/11, Lovebirds

Fairfax, Virginia, Alzheimer's home, midday.

G (a new woman) & E (a familiar man) sit on the couch together.

--I miss my family. Do you miss yours? Do you miss your son? Do you have a good relationship?

--I don't know.

--You haven't seen him in a long time. But you love him and he you. Men don't always express affection; that's how it is.

--He's 30 or 40. Married? I don't believe so.

--Who does he look like? Does he look like you?

--He's somewhat balding.

--Were you happily married?

--Of course.

--Yes or no? Were you? Quite?



--The day is a little bit dark.

--No it isn't. (So says a woman in gray and black sweater who keeps gesturing at her own breasts.)


--They locked the door to my room. I want to go lie down in my room. I can go lie in my room and you can go lie in yours. They don't want us to touch each other. Don't make them separate us!

--Frankly, I don't give a shit.

--They don't want us to touch, but I like it. You love me, don't you?

--You bet I do. My sweetheart. I'll kick their teeth in.


A man in space talks of the harm we do with irresponsible words. His sister-in-law was shot in Arizona.


--I've never been intimate with anyone except the one I was married to. He died. Would you like to live with me?

--Very much so.

Joe says "36."

--I want to lie down. I have no secrets. My room is locked. Southern girls need their rest.

When I walk by later, she is in her room, tearing paper.

--I'd like to hold you, scratch your hair a little bit.

--Would you like to marry me?

--Yes, I like your touch.

--But you don't want to marry me?

--Yes, I want you very badly.

--Only if you love me.

--I love you, you know that.

--It's a deal!!!!


--I feel very lucky knowing you. I feel God brought us together, don't you? I want to get in my room!!

Joe notices me in a chair: "cetta persona!!!" Turns out he delivered the New York Post in Brooklyn. Speaks Italian, as much as he speaks.

Caretakers L & B laugh about the love birds. L says she's going to find love here too, one day. She has a bad toothache, wants soup so she can take Tylenol. Her ex wanted her back, but she said no. She's going to find love. Won't have to do the cooking. She says this as she sorts through a library of pill sheets, takes notes on them. B prays everyday she doesn't end up like them. She does not want to lose her mind.

Love happens all the time here. Sometimes the men's wives get very upset. I never want to see him with that woman ever again, they'll say. They don't understand the disease, L says.

Bonanza is on TV. A woman falls for a man and they decide to marry. His name is Frank, but he is not. He lies to her. She is stricken by grief. Another man died on the eve of her wedding to him, and now this. Before she is betrayed she tells him: But when you love someone, what they've been or done in the past doesn't matter. But then it does.

E approaches his love, who is now lying on the couch, her bad leg out on a chair. She is calm. When she beckons him, he leans to hug her, his face bright. He has a fresh stain on the front of his gray running pants. You dropped some water on your pants, she tells him, you should go change them.

There are crutches for all of us, the star tells Emily, who lies stricken on her bed. You had the crutch of grief for all those years, and he had the crutch of lying. He has had humiliation and courage both. And you will not marry him now?

They meet in the dusty town square. She tells him she still loves him, wants to marry him. He is surprised, but he does not leave. They get into the carriage and ride off, as the credits begin to scroll. They are happy again. They are getting married. You were always a man of action, Frank, the star says to the man.


My mother sits through these scenes, quiet, face tilted toward the television. She had an MA in drama, though she'd tell the cafeteria servers she studied speech, because the drama students had a certain reputation, you know. She is the still point in the room. She is wearing a San Miguel de Allende teeshirt and needs new slacks; her brown ones are coming apart at what seams are left. She smiles and says thank you. S's son says that means she understands things. Do I agree? he asks. No, I say, I think she likes you.

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