"At my board-and-care home, a woman passed out in the bathroom,
and then she was dead! They had to break the door with a hammer!"
Sudden, violent tears. Then:
"It happened the night of the big storm."
"That wasn't very long ago," I said, "a week!"
She said, "I cried and cried and cried, and no one would talk to me about it.
They wouldn't let me come in and clean her room or get her stuff together.
Sometimes I open her door and go in, and then I remember.
You know what I mean?"
Then it was the ritual again--her hands touching my hair,
her voice saying, "Am I hurting you?"
I said, "You never hurt me when you touch me."
© Teresa Cochran 11/03/02