“Let me ask you a question,” my mom’s boyfriend, “Kenneth,” says. “Does that tell you that is nearly basically one of the few things… that is the place to go? Because I can get the jumps on this thing. Is that fair enough?”
The three of us are walking down the hall, holding hands, my mom in the middle, and he wants an answer.
“That sounds about right, Kenneth,” I say.
Kenneth is always solving a problem, developing a strategy, starting a new venture. Maybe he was a financial adviser, a businessman, an entrepreneur. In his mind, he still is. No matter what we’re talking about, he’s talking business. And he talks a lot.
“I love you, Kenneth,” my mom says.”
“That’s right. About 40,” he says.
“No Kenneth, I mean, I love you,” my mom persists.
“Yeah, 90 percent off.”
But then he reaches out and takes her hand and pretends to bite her finger, lovingly. He says, “Come here,” and he leans over and kisses her affectionately on the lips. She puts her head on his shoulder.
“Is that what you thought would be the situation?” he asks me. “Because we can just break … we can break it down. It’ll be easy; we can start today, tomorrow at the latest.”
“Okay, Kenneth. You’re the expert.”
When Kenneth takes a bathroom break, my mom looks a little worried.
“Do you know what he’s talking about?” she asks, because she’s so used to being confused that she thinks the communication problem lies with her.
“No, Mom. But it’s okay.”
“But what am I going to do when it comes time for us to do all this stuff?”
“I’ll take care of it, Mom. Don’t worry.”
It isn’t always easy to be with Kenneth. He can be a little challenging.
But because of him, my mom isn’t lonely anymore. She doesn’t cry when I leave. Life is so much happier for her and so much better for me. I can’t express how much.
The world is interconnected; people affect each other, sometimes profoundly, in ways they may never know, as my friend Nancy pointed out. Kenneth doesn’t know it, but he’s making a real impact in the world — not just on my mom, but on me and on the people I encounter.