the trouble with having friends is that people are awfully breakable and therefore cannot be trusted to live as long as you would like to be friends with them.
this is a cynical thing to think and also pessimistic.
i only mention it because it was one of those thoughts that came on sunday night and kept floating around in my head, bouncing off the sides and front and back and spilling a little out of my eyes at times because lois wasn't in her chair and i didn't know why and couldn't think of a reason except for that maybe she wasn't anywhere anymore.
me and barclay burst through the sliding glass doors, i pulled off my mittens and unzipped my jacket, and that's as long as it took me to notice that something was not right.
and the thing that was not right was that lois wasn't in her chair.
see, it's like this: lois is always in her chair. she sees us and breaks into a wide, four-toothed grin--not because she really knows who we are, or even because she remembers us from last time, but because she knows we're there for her; to see her, to sing for her.
lois loves company [she gets lonely, living in the retirement home]. lois loves to talk [she has a short memory, so she mostly talks in circles]. lois loves "getting into trouble" [she says it's the irish in her]. lois loves men [she is not picky about age, either].
and everybody loves lois. you can't not love lois.
i marched to the office to find out why lois wasn't in her chair. because the empty chair was a lot quieter than lois was.
heart attacks are stupid.
we hunted lois down, found her in the hospital.
on our way to her room, barclay began to worry out loud.
"what if she's confused about who we are out of the setting of the home? what if she doesn't want us there?"
i'd been wondering the same thing. i'd also been worrying about another thing: what if lois was quiet? what if she was scared and lonesome, and what if when we saw her, she didn't hit on barclay or tell us about how they took her car away and how old people shouldn't be so grumpy and how her husband was a symphony player and how drunks use her farmyard for parties and pee in her bushes?
but as we stepped into her room, lois' face broke into a wide four-toothed smile, and without any hesitation, she exclaimed, "OH! you've come to visit me! oh THANK you! i don't get out much, they took my car away--but i have nothing to complain about, you see, because i have my health and they feed me so well in here and i have you young people coming to visit me!" she looked barclay up and down and whispered loudly to me, "THAT is a VERY handsome young man. ooh, ooh. i better behave myself."
i took her hand and smiled. "you staying out of trouble, lois?"
lois huffed. "no. staying out of trouble isn't any fun at all."
we visited in circles for a while, and as we left she wished us a merry Christmas and thanked us again for coming in and encouraged barclay that he was, indeed, a very handsome young man who should come back to visit again, and then forgot that we had been leaving and told us about how drunk men peed in the bushes behind her farm house and scared her half to death.
and the whole visit began again, right from the beginning.
and i was ok with that.