“Hello, Abby dear,” Maga said.

“Hello!” I said, trying to be bright, happy, and not battling a headache.

“How are you?”

“A bit sad, actually.” (Welp, that bright and happy facade didn’t take long to crack.)

“Why are you sad?” Maga said.

“Because I can’t come see you this week.”

“Why not?”

“Not allowed to travel because of the coronavirus.”

“Oh the coronavirus,” Maga said at the same time I said those words. “It’s ruined all the party plans.”

“And what a party it was going to be! 99 years old!”

“I’m surprised I’ve made it. Or, almost made it.”

“It’s SO exciting!”

We did a few rounds on this topic, because, well, it’s all anyone is talking about. It’s hard to wrap our brains around the disruptions, the fear, the unknown.

“Did you know today is St. Patrick’s Day?” I asked her.

“Why, no I did not.”

“I guess you’re not wearing any green, then…?”

“Oh, I AM wearing a green sweater. It’s lovely.”

I grinned at her surprise over her outfit + her honesty.

“Are you wearing green?” she asked.

“I have a green necklace on.” (Or, I did earlier today, but at that exact moment I was in PJs, which no longer included said jewelry.)

“And what else?” Maga’s tone implied I was recreating a certain scene from Titanic, which brightened my attitude considerably.

“Well, a black sweater and jeans, but they’re not as festive as your outfit, I’m afraid.”

“How are you feeling?” Maga asked.

“Mostly fine, but still really sad I won’t get to see you this week.”

“It’s so disappointing. This just popped up and ruined our plans.”

“I was so looking forward to it!”

“We’re going to do it. In a few more months.”

Maga’s tone implied there was no room for negotiation. Just facts: the party to celebrate her 99th birthday would happen, it’d just be a few months delayed. My mood lifted again.

“I’m so happy to be talking with you,” I said.

“I love hearing your voice. We’re in this together.” And then she took my phone number (again) so she could initiate a call and I wasn’t always having to. Here I’d been dreading this call because I hadn’t wanted to disappoint her, but she was right there with facts and a clear mind and reassurance and comfort and charm.

What a role reversal! The world really is topsy turvy right now.

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