Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Easter with James
James, can I get you anything from the grocery store? I was going to buy you a hot roasted chicken...
Well, I would really prefer some cottage cheese.
Great, will do.
Small curd, please, Jerseymaid.
(I curtsey) Order received and I'll be back in a few minutes. It's Easter, and I would like to offer you either a night in a motel, or a gift certificate for (his favorite burrito place).
Well, I would like the gift certificate; that would be great. It's already 3 hours past the motel's check-in time, so I have lost that time.
(I return with cottage cheese, a hot roasted chicken, and his favorite potato salad.)
Well, James, there wasn't Jerseymaid, so you will have to settle for Knudsen.
(James smiles with krinkly eyes. He knows I am playing with him.)
And here are a few more things to eat. I have put money in your account at (local coffee shop), so you can get an Easter meal there [note: James does not like to go to social services facilities such as Salvation Army, as he does not like the crowds].
Oh. Well. [contemplates all the food] Can I change my mind?
Well, I would like to have the motel room.
Oh, sure. I'll go check you in. [We make plans so I can find him after I get the key.]
(Important contextual note: The day before, I had found a letter written by my mother's best friend, describing my mother's suddenly being stricken with a fatal brain aneurism in 1971. I am raw from reading that, the words swirling just one layer below consciousness. My mother's compadre described my mom's transfer from Coronado Hospital to Mercy Hospital in San Diego, where my mom died.)
Motel clerk ( from India): Oh, yes, I remember you, you want a room for the homeless man.
Motel clerk: Why do you do this? Why do you do this for this man? Is he a relative?
Me: No. He's just a homeless man I know.
Motel clerk: But do you work for some agency?
Me: No, he is my friend.
Motel clerk: I know why you do this. Mer-cy. Mer-cy is why you do this.
Me: (the word mer-cy resonates, is searing) Yes...mercy.
It was a good Easter.