5.30.17

“Abby, dear! Is it Tuesday already?”

“It is indeed. How are you?”

“Well, I’m still here. I guess that’s good.”

“It’s very good!”

“Have you had dinner yet?” Maga asked.

“I finished up a little while ago. You?”

“Same. We just got back from the dining room.”

“And how was it?”

“Ugh. Not very good. I had a sandwich. The bacon was undercooked, the tomato not ripe, and the lettuce wilty. The whole thing fell apart. It’s a shame. You pay so much money and the food is terrible.”

“You just have fancy tastebuds.”

That earned a hearty chuckle. “You may be perfectly right about that department.”

“If it makes you feel any better, I had a dismal dinner as well.”

“Why’s that?”

“I was attempting a new recipe and I was trying to cut it down to a more manageable size for one person and I had to grate some cauliflower and cut up peppers and carrots and I didn’t have all the spices and, well, I think it might have tasted okay if I’d seasoned it better and hadn’t left half the cauliflower on the floor.”

“It sounds like it was just overwhelmed by the change in proportion.”

“You may be perfectly right about that department,” I echoed.

“What other news do you have?”

“I went to a Red Sox game on Saturday.”

“Who’d they play?”

“Seattle. They won quite handily. And it was the only sunny day of the weekend. So much fun.”

“Jobo was fond of the Red Sox when he was at MIT. He didn’t play baseball, but he enjoyed watching it. He’d tell me about the games.”

“Oh, that’s right! That’s so neat to think of him at my stadium all those years ago.”

“Isn’t it?”

“Didn’t he swim or something athletic like that?”

“If you’re talking about water, he fished. He wasn’t much for swimming.”

“Oh, duh. Fishing. Of course. And do you have any news to report?”

“Me? No, not really. What about you? Any family news?”

“Niece M turned 15 on Sunday. She’ll be eligible for her permit soon.”

“Her driver’s permit?” Maga cackled in a way I’d never heard before. “Oh, those are the days.” It was part evil, part whimsical, part logical, and very long. It was contagious.

“Woah,” Maga interrupted her own laughter. “There’s a baseball game on and everyone is hitting everyone.” (Her caregiver explained what caused the fight.) “Have you been to any games lately?” She directed the conversation back to me.

“I went to a Red Sox game on Saturday.”

“Who’d they play?”

“Seattle. They won quite handily. And it was the only sunny day of the weekend. So much fun.”

“Oh there’s an advertisement on for Elitch’s. Did you ever go there?”

“Yup. But it was ages and ages ago. I was very young. I remember it because Sister J got hit with the bar safety-belt-thing. It clocked her on the head as she was getting off the roller coaster.”

“Oh my! I don’t think I’ve ever heard this story. I think they didn’t want to worry me. She didn’t have to go to the hospital, did she?”

“Oh, no nothing like that, but we did have to go to the first aid station to get ice and headache medicine. I think they gave her free rides the rest of the day, but she felt too sick to go on any.”

“When was this?”

“Oh man. So long ago. I don’t really remember anything but Sister J getting hurt. I couldn’t have been more than 10, but probably younger.”

“I bet no one told me this story because they didn’t want me to worry. Oh, the game’s back on. And didn’t you say you were just at a game?”

“I did.”

“Jobo and I went sometimes. I liked it more than football. Football’s a rough game.”

“The baseball game you’re watching appears to be quite violent too!”

Maga cackled again, but not nearly as beautifully as before. Probably because the next words out of her mouth were, “Oh, Abby dear. I wish you were closer. I wish you were here. But you aren’t, so I’ll have to get over that longing.”

Her determination to beat back the loneliness was admirable. And so, I stayed on the line for even longer than usual letting her regal me with tales of polaroid no longer selling film, answering her questions about smart phones, trying not to be jealous of all the upcoming visitors in her schedule book, and enjoying the other opportunities I was gifted to make her laugh.

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