Day Eighteen, Thursday
At two in the afternoon, Morgan pulled into the parking lot at Sunnyside Home. She had promised she would come back to visit. Why did she still feel this sense of resistance? Reaching out of her shell was hard. She would have made a good turtle, she thought. But, she wasn’t a turtle, she was a woman, and there were other women in that building who needed a friend. She picked up the jar of roses for Marie, got out, locked the car and stuck the keys in her pocket.
Clarisse met her at the counter, an armload of files tucked in her arm. “Morgan, good to see you, glad you could come. I am really busy for a few minutes. Can you find your way to the rooms by yourself?”
“Of course.” Clarisse walked down the hall. Morgan turned and looked out the door. I could run, now, she thought. No one would know. But they would know. And she would know. Marie’s room was close. She went there first. She spoke as she stepped through the doorway. “Marie, I brought you some roses from my yard.”
“Oh, Morgan, that is so sweet of you. I am so happy. Come, sit here in the chair beside me.”
Morgan took the flowers over and held them so Marie could smell them. She guided her hand to touch the soft petals. “Here, I’ll set them on your little table. The fresh air from the window will carry the scent over to you.”
“Thank you. You are very sweet.”
Morgan thought of how she almost ducked out the door. “Marie, tell me about your family.”
Marie held her hand and talked. And talked. And talked. The years. The children. The husbands (her first one died in the war). Their house, left behind, the move to a new country. The distance between her and her children. The ache as she watched their struggles, their growth.
She said being a mother was kind of like life, now, for her, being blind. Sometimes you have no idea where you are going. You do the best you can with what you have, what you understand, what you feel, you make it work with the tools you have. You trip, you run into things, you step on things. Things break, you forget where you put something and have to feel for it. You walk, take steps, trusting your instincts there isn't some huge danger lurking ahead. But it is part of life. For the children and for you.
Morgan only needed to prime her with a few questions. The words, the stories, flowed like fresh, clear water from an old pump with a deep well. She listened, enjoyed, appreciated this woman who had seen so much, felt so much, struggled so much.
An hour passed. Morgan said she wanted to visit Gertrude today, too. Marie, reluctant to let her go, held her hand tightly, thanking her again and again for coming.
Next time, Morgan thought, I will be eager to come. It is such a small thing for me to do, but it means so much to them.