She sits in the corner chair, with her ankles crossed and her hands carefully folded in her lap. She wants to drink the cup of tea in front of her, but she doesn’t remember how long it’s been brewing, and she’ll just drip the teabag everywhere. Her scarf perfectly matches the shoes that she’s been staring at for the past 10 minutes. The others at the table have gathered to talk about her, and she chides herself for bothering them.
“How about that, Mom? Do you remember that?” She’s heard the question 12 times so far; she knows because she counted. And no, she doesn’t remember. She knows she doesn’t listen well. She can hear just fine, but she doesn’t listen. Perhaps she would remember more if she had listened better throughout her life. But it’s too late now, and the burden is theirs.
A gentle woman in purple scrubs joins the group, and introduces herself as Lisa. She won’t remember that name. She explains to Lisa that she doesn’t remember things, things that she should, she knows. She left the coffeepot on for a whole two days this week, she confesses. Lisa assures her that she’s done the same thing once or twice. That’s nice of her to lie.
They talk about where she lives, and what she likes to eat. It’s small, and she knows she eats too much sugar. They talk about her cat, and what the other people at the table think about these things. She probably shouldn’t have a pet, and they say they worry.
“Well, Sarah, you’re very smart ,” says Lisa. Smart?
“Oh, I was a lot smarter when I could remember a few things,” she says.
“You’re very smart! Brilliant, in fact, for raising such wonderful children,” says Lisa. She smiles a smile that looks different than the ones she normally receives.
“Oh, they fuss. I don’t really deserve anything.” she says.
“That is nonsense,” says Lisa. “You absolutely deserve to be happy and safe.”
She grows quiet, and ponders while the others discuss arrangements.
“Sarah, do you have any questions,” asks Lisa.
“No no, no questions. Thank you,” she says.
One of the boys reaches across the table, “don’t you worry, Mom. Nothing will change much.”
She smiles at her oldest, and notices the grey in his beard. With a deep breath, she moves the tea bag to her plate and takes a sip. It’s perfect.