“You all are so busy and here I am sitting here in this care center feeling sorry for myself.”

“Oh, Maga.” My heart sank. “If it helps, my winter’s been really quiet so far. Sticking close to home, getting settled, getting used to it all. And besides, you’ve lived a very busy life thus far.”

She started to tell me about South Africa and the Italian Lake Country and France and New Jersey. The details were a bit hazy, but since it was her world traveling memories, I couldn’t help shake out the cobwebs.

“I am continually impressed with what you’ve seen and done.”

“Yes, but I won’t be making any more international trips.”

“But you have all those pictures.”

“Yes, I guess I do have all those pictures.”

“You can look at them and remember and relive.”

“I suppose that’s all I can do.”

And so.

We turned to more familiar topics. My recent move. Sister E’s even more recent move. The weather. Our January birthdays. My phone number. My address. My parents’ travels. My siblings’ phone numbers. My aunt and uncle’s travels. My cousin’s international travels. Family. Family. Family. My phone number.

“It’s hard to keep everything straight unless you write it in a book,” she said.

And so.

A clarity about why I write so many things down (on post-it notes, on scraps of paper, on pads of paper) unveiled itself, but mostly, a deeper understanding of why she’s always asking for my contact information settled in my bones.

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