Tonight, I went to see Ants later than usual because I had a party to go to later that evening. I arrived at 6pm to find him in bed, propped up comfortably and watching television. I pulled my chair close to the padded rail on the left-hand side of his bed, muted the television, kissed him and grabbed his hand.
He was very blank to begin with and, because he hardly blinks, his eyes were wide and a bit confused. Our conversation wasn’t particularly animated because his voice was a whisper
Me: You look like a stunned mullet!
Anthony: You are ….
Me: Are you tired?
Me: Well I am going to a party soon but you can stay put. Is that okay?
Me: It’s L’s party; she’s graduated and now has her PhD. You remember L?
Anthony: I think so.
Me: May I change the station to the food channel?
He didn’t respond so I did so anyway and we watched a chef put together a delicious meal.
Me: This is making me hungry, Ants.
Anthony: Is there any chocolate?
One of our closest friends, M, provided a massive amount for Christmas and he has only gotten through half of it. So, one by one, I popped a few treats into his mouth because his hands weren’t working. (Around a year ago Anthony seemed to partially forget how to feed himself so, if I were there at mealtimes, I would feed him. We would joke about this and I would exclaim, “Feed yourself for goodness sake!” and he would say, “It’s more sexy when you do it.” I would laugh and laugh and he would smile.
Anthony has now become one of those residents who often (mostly?) has to be fed. But that’s okay because at least he still has an appetite and can still swallow adequately enough that his food doesn’t have to be mushed.
My plan was to leave the nursing home at 7pm, drop in to see my friend, N, on the way to L’s. I told Anthony this a few times as I was saying goodbye to him, then N rang to say she was running a bit late.
Me: Ants, I can stay another 10 minutes.
Anthony: I am enjoying myself.
Me: Can you enjoy yourself when I’m not here?
My heart relaxed and I put my hand into his again and squeezed it and he took my hand up to his mouth and kissed it.
Ten minutes later, as I got up to go, he looked at me, his eyes wide, but no longer blank. I looked back, kissed him goodbye, and told him I would see him tomorrow.
Anthony: Ten more minutes?
Me: Yeah we’ve already had those. I love you so much, Ants!
Anthony: I love you too, Jules.
I have been so terribly sad lately that blogging seemed too hard, and responding to others’s blogs even harder, but I think I might have my writing voice back now. I hope so because I really want to write about this experience with Anthony, and Ming too; I really want to re-experience and express how beautiful ten minutes can be.