At breakfast, Don is staring intently beyond his plate. There is a library book there but it is sideways to him. (He often tries to read upside down, now.)
I ask, what are you looking at?
La…Va…LaVerne, he says, naming a cousin and best friend from his boyhood, and pointing to “Vancouver Island Public Library” on the book cover.
Brightly, I announce, “That says ‘Vancouver Island,'” and brush away a few unexpected tears.
Later that day, returning from a little light-hearted shopping trip with a friend, I was met by towering anger, and sad gestures from the caregiver, “He just flipped – everything was fine until 10 minutes ago,” and once more my heart twisted, this time in fear and impatience: “Oh no, not again!”
The next morning, I thought bitterly of Briony Penn, when she rode a horse near-naked through the streets of Vancouver to save a forest, as she told the press, “I have a Masters decree in biology but you don’t want to talk about that.” I thought to myself, “I have a Masters degree in English literature and social change,” and I have just spent half an hour convincing my partner that the two legs in his pants go one on each of his legs. Got up at 8, and by the time we had breakfast, showered, and got dressed, I was completely exhausted.
But earlier that morning, we had spent a lovely half hour in bed, not talking, peacefully holding hands and drinking our coffee.