I Love You

Maggie Dorsey

 

“I love you,” she says as she quickly opens the door. Clutching her purse close to her body, she steadily walks to her usual seat.


Being so accustomed to her way of an introduction I answer, “Hello there, Mari.” The lights are off in the dining room and I don’t feel ready to deal with the upcoming struggle. I slowly walk over to her table. She has already overturned every mug and cup. Luckily, she hasn’t noticed the silverware under the cloth napkins yet.


“How are you today?” I ask her. She looks up at me, runs her fingers though her hair and automatically replies, “I love you.”


I respond unusually with, “That’s good.” She looks a little frazzled today. Her hair is standing taller than usual.


Before I walk away she points at her coffee mug and demandingly says, “I love you.”

 

I think to myself, “Please Mari, why can’t you wait until dinner?!” I repeatedly tell Mari that the dining room is closed and I can’t get her coffee.


She responds with, “NO. NO. NO.” Determined to taste coffee, Mari scoots her chair back and heads toward the coffee pot.


At that instant I know what I must do, I grab Mari’s purse from under the table and I repeat in an informative, yet demanding voice, “We are closed” as I march out the dining room doors.

 

Once Mari notices me with her purse walking out the doors she hurriedly walks after me bellowing, “NO!” She follows me through the doors and when we are both outside of the dining room I give her her purse back and she becomes calm again. Focused on the safety of her purse, she forgets that she had a craving for coffee and starts walking down the hall. I go back into the dining room and finish setting up the room.

 

Later on during dinner Mari returns to her seat. As I fill Mari’s mug with coffee she thanks me with, “I love you.”

 

I reply, “You’re welcome Mari.” Dinner is nearly finished as I stand by the door ushering other residents out into the hallway, reminding them of their room numbers.

 

As Mari leaves she comes in close to me, looks me in the eyes, rubs my back and says, “I love you.”
I smile and reply, “I love you too. Goodnight, Mari.”

 

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790