“It snowed last night,” Maga said.

“IT DID?!” I said.

“You didn’t know?”


“Why not?”

“How would I?”

“Where are you?”


“Oh,” Maga said. She lost her words and then her train of thought. She lapsed into talking about what was on the TV because it didn’t involve the past. Just present. I interjected where I could, but mostly, I just listened.

“It’s getting dark so early,” Maga said.

“That’s true. It’s definitely dark here.”

“Where are you?”


“I’m so lonely. I wish you would come visit.”

“Oh, Maga. I wish I could too. It’s almost a five hour flight, though. It’s just not as close as I’d like.”

“We’re both at different…” she searched for a word, “…angles.”

It didn’t make sense and it was 100% true. I wished I could rearrange a few things so the angles of our states and edges of our couches were closer.



“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby.”

“Hello, darling. Who is this?”

“It’s Abby.”

“Oh, Abby. How did I miss you?”

“You didn’t. I’m here.”

“I dozed off here in the chair.”

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“It’s perfectly all right. Oh, that was terribly bad behavior.”

“What? I said I was sorry!”

“My knee. I moved it and it hurt.”

“Oh. I thought you were talking about me.”

I needn’t have worried. She wasn’t. In fact, for most of the rest of the conversation, she wasn’t talking to me or about me, but merely near me. She had other things to be excited about, namely, the adventurers returning home tomorrow!



“What did you do today?” Maga asked.

“Went to work, got a flu shot, got my roof replaced,” I said.

“Your roof was repaired?”


“I hope it all goes away tomorrow.”

“I DON’T! I need a roof!”

“Oh, yes. Well, the travelers come home on Thursday.”

“They do! Do you think they’re having fun?”

“I don’t think so. I hope not.”

WHAT IS HAPPENING? IS TODAY OPPOSITE DAY? I decided to lay off a bit because my incredulous tone was throwing her for a loop. I let her tell me about the clouds outside, ask me about my day, and tell me about the commercials she was watching (side note: why is it always a commercial and never a main program?).

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Maga said. “It’s all moving so fast.”

“There does seem to be a lot happening on your tv right now.”

“I guess they know what they’re doing even if I don’t.”

She said it to the TV, but I could have easily said it to her…It’s a misty, spooky October night here and the atmosphere bled into the phone call. In fact, I’m not sure which part of this conversation was the most helpful/comforting for her: the part where I talked or the part where I listened or the part where her phone crapped out and she hung up on me?



“Do you usually call on Monday?” Maga asked.

“No, Tuesday.”

“Tuesday,” she muttered. “Yes, that’s the way it goes.”

Aside from repeatedly asking me what I did today (work, walked home, made chicken noodle soup), the bulk of our conversation was her reading/narrating everything on her TV screen.

“Wow, he’s right in the midst of it…”

“Extra…ouch…tailgate lounge…”

“Treatments for erectile disfunction work…”

“Two men and a truck…”

“What are those arm things called?”

Knowing she was watching a lot of commercials and a little bit of football, I spoke up. “Tattoos?”

“Yes! You knew what I was talking about.”

“Do you like them?”

“Tattoos? They’re sort of dirty looking. Do you like them?”

“Usually, yes. They’re very interesting to look at.”


“Do you think you’ll get a tattoo once you turn 100?” (I mean, hey, I finally got her talking. Might as well push the conversation.)

“I think I might.”

“For serious? What would you get?”

“Oh goodness. I don’t know.”

I held my tongue.

“Maybe flowers,” she said.

“Where would you get it? Arm? Leg?”

“Honestly, I don’t know.”

“That’s okay.”

“Plus, I’m not there yet.”

She was tired of thinking and wanted to go back to reciting the commercials. I sighed.

“Probably on my arm. That’s as good a place as any.”

I did a little dance as I imagined her getting a tattoo. She’d never go through with it, but I had a blast picturing what flower she’d pick, how she’d react, how the tattoo artist would react. Maga smiled to herself as she had someone to sit with her while she watched tv. Her mind wasn’t able to keep up with anything substantial, but I got a glimpse of her regular personality tonight, so I considered myself lucky. Plus, to be fair, my mind was wandering too.

Who would have thought two wandering minds could converse so well?



“Have you heard from the adventurers?” Maga asked.

I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed, so I did so with caution. “A little. [Sister E] received a picture of my mom today.”


“It her standing next to a giraffe!”


“Yes. They have these cafes where the giraffes can roam nearby and stick their heads in and you can hang out with them.”

“They’re in the air. You’re on the ground,” Maga said.

“No. They’re all in the air.”


“It’s kind of like a tree house, I guess.”

“Do you have any clouds?”

The transition was abrupt, and yet, logical. “Today? Tonight? Or, like, in life?”

“Tonight,” she clarified.

“No. They all blew away.” (To London. Hi, Adriana!) “What about you? How’s your weather?”

“What’s that beeping noise?”

“My microwave. My errands after work took longer than I expected, so I’m just eating dinner now.”

“Oh, you’re cooking. Good job.”

“I wouldn’t call it cooking. I’m heating things up.”

Maga chuckled at that, which I considered a huge win because she was already in bed (at 6:45pm her time) and had sounded so sad at the beginning of the conversation. Neither giraffes or details of Aunt J’s return pepped her up. But if making light of my abilities in the kitchen tickles her fancy, perhaps I should try facetiming her to show her how truly magical it is (not) when I put my chef’s hat on!