“How are you, Maga?” I asked.
“Well, it’s lonely here.”
“I know the feeling.”
“I sure wish we were closer.”
“Me too. But since we’re not, these phone calls are intended to help bridge that gap between visits.”
“Thank goodness for Alexander Graham Bell.”
“Isn’t today Monday?”
“Yes, actually, it is. I have more time tonight than tomorrow and as we were just saying loneliness is around and I wanted to make sure to check in with you.”
“Thank you, dear.”
We spoke about the weather, my siblings, my house, meandered over to the topic of my work…”What are the hours you work?” Maga asked.
“9am to 5pm.”
“Oh, 9 to 5. The usual working hours.”
“Well, usual for this working force. Your hours were more like 24 hours a day.”
The truth tickled Maga. “Why yes, you’re right. When you raise four children, the hours are a bit longer.”
“Quite a bit.”
“And [Sister E]? How’s her job going? Tell me what it is again.”
“The easiest way to explain it is that she teaches / trains people how to use a product.”
“What’s the product?”
Maga was silent for a spell.
I continued. “It’s for computers.”
“Oh. Everything’s all about computers these days.”
“What about the gift from my parents? Have you used that?”
“What’s it called again?”
“And how does it work?”
“And you plug it in and that’s what [Sister E] teaches people how to use?”
I was silent for a spell. “No, no, no. Your gift and [Sister E]’s job are unrelated. Maga, are you wearing your hearing aid?”
“Wait. No, I’m not.”
“I suspected you weren’t.”
“Oh, well, I forgive you.”
“Umm, thank you?”
I’m sure it wasn’t her game plan, but the act of her not putting in her hearing aid actually extended the conversation, as I had to repeat words and phrases and concepts until she understood what I was talking about. Maybe I should have stuck to the weather? Or maybe I should just appreciate the extra time together with Maga, no matter the volume levels or topic(s) of conversation.