I got to the Assisted Living place and Mother was pitiful. Yes, she was. But she'd eaten some and I found out that last night she'd even gone to the dining room for some soup and she's been drinking plenty of fluids and I started showing her pictures of the boys and telling her stories about them and before I knew it, she was laughing and then the doctor came up and then we were all laughing and I told her she better get herself together because she has nine people coming for dinner and that's that.
She asked me to find her an outfit, which I did, and I got her a bowl of soup and some crackers and she said she'd eat that and then take a nap and she allowed as how she might not eat anything at the dinner but that would be okay and I said that yes, it would because I had a feeling that someone at our table would manage to eat whatever she didn't and she laughed about that, too. I think she was feeling somewhat cheerful when I left.
And then I went and had a near-perfect experience of happiness, at least ten minutes of it. I bought a pre-packaged Cuban sandwich from Publix and I sat in my car in the parking lot and ate it and read part of the New Yorker I'd just gotten and for that amount of time, I was completely and utterly content. I was as happy as any cow in any pasture on a sunny day, up to her knees in the lushest grass on the planet.
It's funny how that works, isn't it? A three dollar and fifty-cent cold sandwich, a magazine, and solitude. The whole world spun on without me and it was grand.