A Short Story

I sit here everyday in this dining room, she thought.  I sit with the same people each day. They know who I am but they don’t know me.

I can sometimes exchange a smile with them. On a good day, I can share a few tidbits of my life that I can remember. Most of the time, I’m quiet, lost in a world of thoughts that I can’t make sense of…it’s been like this for, well, I can’t remember how long.

Today, a much younger man than me, visiting his Mom, sat down across the lunch table from me. I couldn’t manage a hello as I was so lost in trying to remember my name. For some reason, he kept stealing a long look at me. He probably thought I was a bit nutty as I kept whispering to myself the names I thought I was.

I thought maybe I had a son his age, but I can’t remember for sure. I know I have a daughter, only because I remember her visiting me earlier this morning.  I’ll have to ask her the next time I see her if she has a brother.

The young man kept staring at me.  I caught him tearing up as I took the hand offered me from my favorite nurse who was passing by, and doing as I do, gently stroking her arm with my other hand. I was sorry it upset him so, but I think he knew that it provided me a comfort that can quiet my unsettled mind.

Everyday, they try to feed me.  Sometimes, I can’t remember whether I like the food they present me, and so, I refuse most of time, knowing that I’ll get a protein shake instead.  I do remember that I loved fried chicken but can’t imagine why I would have eaten something that would have messed up my manicured fingers.

The young man kept looking at me.  I was not frightened.  Being 87 years old and being where I am, there isn’t much to be frightened about, except not being able to remember your own name.

“Grace,” the nurse said, “this young man here is Jonathan – he’s your son.”

“Oh, hello Jonathan.  I have a son named Jonathan.”

Jonathan said hello, with a bit of those tears remaining in his eyes. He told me that my hair was beautiful, and that I had a lovely smile and that he loved my name.

Grace. It is a beautiful name. I hope I can remember it. But my favorite nurse then sat down next to me, and held my hand again, while I stroked her arm.

And Jonathan smiled at me, with those tears still in his eyes.


Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet Suite: “Friar Laurence” · Riccardo Muti – Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash


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