Setting: A large dining room on a dementia unit. Spotlight is on a table against the wall with three chairs, occupied by Ken, an octogenarian man wearing a hat, Mariann, an octogenarian woman, and Beth, a middle-aged woman.
Mariann: (Looks at Beth.) I didn’t know you were coming today!
Beth: I know, Mom. I didn’t tell you.
Mariann: (Beams.) You rascal! (Glances toward Ken): This is my daughter!
Ken: Well, excuse my expression, but “Wow.”
Marian: (Looks at Beth.) What did he say?
Beth: He said, “Wow.”
Mariann: “Wow?” Oh boy. (Points at Ken’s hat.) Hey Bethie, did you see his hat?
Beth: It’s a very nice hat.
Mariann: Your hat. (Ken takes it off and places it on the table.)
Beth: (Reaches into her bag and takes out a small color photograph.) Hey Mom, I have something for you.
Mariann: (Looks at the photo.) Oh, how nice!
Beth: Yes, it’s Kathy, Kristen and Kaitlin. On their cruise.
Ken: (Nodding.) Very interesting. I have a question. Did you ever do … (mumbling) Hart and Hurst?
Mariann: (Looking at Beth.) What did he say?
Beth: Something about Hart and Hurst.
Mariann: What’s that?
Beth: Must be a company.
Mariann: Oh. (Shrugs and throws up her hands.)
Ken: It’s a funny thing … so and from … absolutely. Those are the words.
(The two women look at each other, puzzled. They shrug. They turn to Ken and nod, slowly.)
Mariann: (Looking down at the table.) What’s this? Oh, what a nice picture!
Beth: Yes, I brought it for you. That’s your daughter, Kathy, and your granddaughters, Kristen and Kaitlin.
Mariann: Kristen and … Kaitlin?
Mariann: (Shows the photo to Ken.) Look at this picture!
Ken: (Takes the photo in his hand.) Oh, yes.
Mariann: Those are (struggling to find the words) … oh… isn’t it terrible when you can’t even remember your own sisters’ names?
Beth: Um, no Mom, those are your daughter and granddaughters.
Mariann: (Puzzled.) My daughter and granddaughters?
Beth: Yes. Your daughter, Kathy, and her daughters, Kristen and Kaitlin.
Mariann: Oh, how nice!
Ken: (Still holding the photo.) I say, that is very top-notch. (Hands the photo back to Mariann.)
(Ken nods, then starts to nod off.)
Mariann: (Speaking to Ken.) Now, don’t fall asleep! (Speaking to Beth.) He does this a lot.
Beth: Maybe he’s tired.
Mariann: Oh, no. What would he be tired for? (Looks at the table and sees the hat.) Who’s hat is that?
Beth: Um, it’s Ken’s.
Mariann: (Reaches over, picks up the hat, and puts it on her head, so it’s covering her eyes.) Let’s see what he says when he sees me.
(Silence. Ken continues to sleep. Mariann takes the hat off.)
Mariann: (Looking down at the table.) Oh, look at this picture!
Beth: Yes, Mom. I brought that for you.
Mariann: Who are they?
Beth: Your daughter and granddaughters.
Mariann: Oh, yes. That’s Kathy … and (pointing at Kristen) … you … and who’s that little one?
Beth: Kaitlin. But that’s not me. It’s Kristen.
Mariann: Kristen!? Oh, I’m confused. (Speaking to Ken.) Hey, wake up over there.
Ken: (Opens his eyes.) Let me ask you a question. What was … the international lawsuit?
Mariann: There was a national lawsuit? (Looks at Ken, then at Beth.)
Beth: Um, I don’t know, Mom.
Ken: Okay, okay, I’ll accept that. Very good.
Mariann: (whispering to Beth.) Do you know what he’s talking about?
Beth: (whispering) No.
Mariann: (Looking down at the table.) Oh, what a nice picture!
Beth: I brought it for you.
Mariann: Who are they? My daughters?
Beth: No, just one is.
Mariann: I only have one daughter?
Beth: No, you have three. But there’s only one in the picture. The other two are your granddaughters.
Mariann: (Speaking to Ken.) Hey, take a look at this picture. (She hands it to him.)
Ken: Oh, nice. (He hands the photo back to Mariann.)
Mariann: (Pointing to Kaitlin.) Who’s that one?
Ken: (Nodding.) Oh yes, Kaitlin is one … of those two … little places.
Mariann: (Pointing at Kaitlin in the photo.) No, that’s Kaitlin. (Pointing at Kathy in the photo.) Who’s that?
Mariann: Who’s Kathy? My daughter, isn’t she?
Ken: Is she expensive?
Mariann: Hmmm, I don’t know. She does have a lot of clothes! (Pointing at Kristen in the photo and speaking to Beth.) Who’s this one–you?
Beth: No, Kristen.
Mariann: Oh, Kristen!
Ken: Okay, I want to discuss something right here. (Positioning his hand over his dinner plate.) It was well apportioned (mumble, mumble). There was this… and there was that. What do you think about that?
Beth: Um, I don’t really know.
Mariann: (Looking down at the table.) Hey where did that hat come from? And look at that picture — did you see it, Beth? It’s beautiful.
Beth: (Sighing.) I think I need to be getting home now.
Mariann: Oh, no! I thought you were going to stay the night!
Beth: Next time, Mom. I promise.
Mariann: Okay, sweetie. I love you. (Leans over and kisses Beth on the cheek.)
Beth: Love you, too. Mom. (Looking at Ken and getting up.) Bye, Ken!
Ken: Well let me just say that was really, really, really solid, and very frankly the next one you run off is going to be really good.
Note: I’ll be taking a short break from this blog while I work on another writing project this summer. Look for my next post in the fall. Thank you so much for reading!