Bill and I sat in this amazing cacophony of hearts, cupids and a view of Indian Bay. By navigational error, we had arrived at Serendipity for lunch. The ceiling was red gently rolling scarves of fabric. The fountain encrusted with pink, purple and red blown-glass grapes. Except for the tables, all surfaces up, down and sideways were encrusted with symbols of love.
Three white-haired women had gathered at the table in the center. The last one to join them spoke the most. As I listened to their weaves of conversation, all centered on the final act of their lives, I felt a chill.
“You think you’re going to live forever,” the late-arrival began. “I took care of my mother and thought I was done. But it’s been 15 years with him and I am tired.”
The woman to her left, touched her hand gently. “Of course, Sadie, of course. Will you cook at the senior apartments?”
“No stoves, Gloria. Thank god. Time for a meal, I’ll march myself down to the dining hall.”
The third woman chimed in, “And doctors, can you get to doctors? That’s all I do when I’m not sleeping or eating.”
“Francesca, they arrange the rides if you don’t drive,” Sadie said.
Gloria cleared her throat. “How much does it cost – everything laundry, heat, lawn service, in your home a month, everything compared to this senior apartment?”
Sadie smiled. I could see her the clearest. She was in the middle droning on and on about being too tired to do the wash, not wanting to pay anymore bills, being almost done with the everyday tasks of life.
I didn’t want to hear this. I wasn’t sure how much older they were than me. But I saw them outside my peripheral vision, outside me. And I didn’t want to go there. Instead, I looked at the ocean, the menu, my husband and all the hearts and cupids. I hung onto my beloved’s hand – and love.