maybe later on

Lipstick, she says. I need to put on lipstick.

We're only going out to sit on the lawn.  

Lipstick before we leave the house. 

This is an old habit of hers, one she remembers. Other habits-- changing clothes, showering, wiping after using the toilet-- have become less important. Forgotten, in fact. 

Today it took me no less than five times of reminding her that she needed to dress for the day. A simple task is now a conversation, a discussion, a debate. 

Logic is lost. 

Once I coax her into her room, her clothes laid out on the bed, I leave her to dress. Minutes later I find her in the bathroom, only having changed out of her pajama shirt. 

Back to square one. The same conversation, her same questions, my same answers. 

After a half hour we are outside. Our conversation now centers around three topics: how quiet the street is, where Caroline is (her neighbor), and where my Grandpa is (the garage). 

Suddenly, a shift: Want to hear some poetry? she asks. Before I can give a response, she begins: I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills when all at once I saw a crowd a host of golden daffodils beside the lake beneath the trees fluttering and dancing in the breeze...

She recites all four stanzas, her tone without inflection, her tempo fast, as if she is trying to get it all out before her mind betrays her. 

I am amazed and bewildered. 

Meals on Wheels arrives promptly at 11:00 a.m.

We don't need that! she cries indignantly. 

She doesn't realize she hasn't cooked in over a year. She doesn't remember they've been coming Monday through Friday for the past six months. 

Let's change your shoes and go for a walk, I say, more as a distraction than a serious suggestion.  I know her answer before she gives it:

Not right now. Maybe later on.


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