The Never-Ending Monologue of Martha

I was sitting by myself in the coffee lounge the other day deeply immersed in the newspaper and looking forward to the moment when I turn to the page after the sports section to start the crossword, when I felt someone plop down next to me on the couch. I scooted over three inches to the left to give them room and then looked up and smiled a greeting. The attractive woman smiled back and said, “Good morning”. I nodded and went back to my paper.

She said something which I ignored. I was not in the mood for company. She said something else and I looked up at her. She was looking at me, but her eyes were completely blank, glazed over, unseeing and uncomprehending. Then I listened to her conversation. It was a continuous stream of nothingness, no pauses, no commas and no full stops. The words were joined physically but were not in any order or sequence.

Then I understood. A dementia victim of some sorts. I excused myself and moved a few armchairs away. Martha sat where she was, chattering along, smiling at the funny things she said, and frowning at other words. An hour later nothing had changed. Martha was happily talking away. I had a cup of coffee in front of me and was immersed in the morning crossword battle.

Another hour passed and a pretty young Philippine caregiver appeared. She walked up to Martha, put her arms around her and kissed her on the forehead. Gently she helped her to her feet and the two of them walked off, hand in hand, in the direction of the dining room.


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