For the last several weeks my friend Annie has not felt well. Nothing seriously wrong, rather a long drawn out general fatigue. Of course she had a flu shot, and her doctor came by regularly (to her home) as well as a nurse.
There were many days when I went to see her she wasn't herself and barely said, "Bonjour," before falling asleep in her chair.
I sat by her side. Sometimes she would wake briefly, give a faint smile and fall back to sleep. Most of the time, I would give her a kiss and I tip toed out.
The few times she would laugh at herself, "All I do anymore is sleep. I am like a baby." Sometimes she would wake up, and ask, "Have you been here a long time?" Often I would hold her soft warm hand while she slept, later I would do her dishes if she had any to be done and leave. And one time she said, "I think the end is near."
It is as Annie has often said, "It takes a lot of courage to grow old." I have taken that also to mean, it takes courage to love a friend and watch them grow old.
The other day when I went to visit her, I could tell Annie was back by the color is her cheeks, the sparkle in her eye, the way she carried a conversation and didn't fall asleep after bonjour. I was relieved!
Today when I walked in I was greeted by the smell of cookies. Though Annie was fast asleep in her chair. The dishes were stalked to the ceiling, baking was the culprit. I washed the dishes, then sat by her side.
Eventually she woke up. I teased that someone had come in and made something delicious. "What happened? It smells like old times again!" I asked. She went on to say that two friends came to visit her telling her that their mother had fallen and broken her nose. Annie went on, "My friend is two years older than me, that's old! And she broke her nose because she doesn't like to sit around and do nothing. She still bakes and cooks, not just heats up food like I have been doing." She shook her head and added, "So I decided if she could bake so could I and I did." Then she rolled her eyes, "It nearly killed me, so here I am sleeping again."
Then I asked her were where the cookies?
As I wiped the cookie crumbs from my mouth, I said, "You know you are coming with me to Paris when the apartment is done."
She smiled that uncertain child like smile then said to herself, "And now she has me in Paris."