“Hello, Abby, darling. How are you?” Maga said.

“I’m okay for now. And you?”

“I’m just back from dinner. It takes some time to eat dinner and do the things you do.”

“True, true. So what did you have for dinner?”

“Well let me sit here and think about it.”

She did. She sat. She thought. Apparently the dinner wasn’t tasty enough to be memorable.

“What did you do today,” she asked, changing the subject away from her stalled memory.

“I went to work, and big news, [university] has canceled classes for the rest of the semester. Well, not canceled fully. The students will take class online instead.”


“Classes are canceled.”

“Do they have stockings?”

“What? No. I said classes are canceled.”


“Class. Students can’t go to class.” For some reason, the word class was tough for her to hear. “Classrooms. Teachers. Teaching. School. Education.” Eventually she understood me, or at least, she pretended she did.

To be honest, I was thrilled she didn’t seem to know much about the virus because it means it’s not all over the news there which means she’s safe. Also, the starting and stopping and repetition of a conversation felt familiar, as that’s all my brain’s been doing this week. The headlines, the doom and gloom, the uncertainty, the worry, the waiting. It all adds up to a messy mind.

It was reassuring hearing her voice, though, and you know? Maybe that’s why I had such patience for her (and the other classic topics we covered over the course of our conversation) tonight: one messy mind (anxiety filled one) understands another (nearly 99 years old one).

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