Backstage Writers – Think Hope Do

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Postmodern Challenges – Defining Impact

Is She My Husband?

Madame Mauser wound up at Colette’s table when they rearranged the dining rooms.  She asked us our names then she scrawled them into a notebook. Sweet idea, I thought, an active attempt to get to know her dining partners. The fact that she repeated the question two or three times didn’t strike me. I thought she was practicing. On the fourth and fifth times, the other residents started grousing.

“Don’t answer her!” one woman yelled.

“Incredible! She can’t leave anyone alone!”

The need for the notebook continued. Madame Mauser brought a bag to carry it in and required an extra chair be placed at her side to put the things on. I learned the importance of this chair the hard way.

“You sit there,” the fat woman at the next table yelled. “Why should she get an extra chair?”

I didn’t mind walking twenty feet to find another chair. Of course, Colette called out after me. “Hey! Where are you going?”

Madame Mauser had a new question one night as she made her way around the room. “Excuse me, what table is this?”

The fat woman yelled. “Sit down! Enough is enough!” The younger woman, the one who’d had the stroke and felt so sorry to trouble people with her condition, remained gentle.  ”Oh dear, I’m afraid I don’t know the tables around here.”

Then one night the notebook stayed in Madame Mauser’s bag, and she stayed in her seat. “Mademoiselle, is this my wine?” she asked.

“Yes, it is,” I said.

Madame Mauser got back to names when her body started going. She staggered into the dining room that night with oozing leg bandages. Trembling from head to toe, she was still in a desperate need for facts. “Mademoiselle?” she called out. Colette ignored her and carried on with her story. “What’s her name?” Madame Mauser asked. I told her Colette’s last name for the 100th time.

“Gauguin, like the painter,” I whispered.

“OK, she’s Madame Gauguin. Am I Madame Gauguin?”

“No, you’re Madame Mauser.”

“She’s Madame Mauser?”

“No, you’re Madame Mauser.”

“Is she my husband?”

She asked. I answered.  Colette continued her story. It came time for the soup. I helped Madame Mauser with her bib.

“Thank you, Mademoiselle,” she said with a smile. I’d never seen her smile, but for a brief moment she looked grateful and happy. I’d helped her do something her trembling hands could no longer do. In a flash life made sense. Then confusion returned. “She’s not my husband?”

I never got to snap that bib again.

Category: Seniors

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If you want to mess up someone’s life, steal his post-its

Nothing is set in stone – Changes as they happen on Center Stage

-I’m not sitting here, Fran!

-Oh Tod.

-Don’t start that, Fran.

-He did say, “Center Stage.”

-Why us?

-We’re props, Tod.

-Why’d he choose us, Fran? We’re not the only Americans. We weren’t first in line. Is it my weight? Is it your-

-He looked so pleased to put us here.

-And so we’re just going to sit here ‘cause “Monsieur” looked pleased? Are you nuts, Fran?

-Oh, Tod. You wanted something contemporary… You like being on stage.

-I can’t even talk to you.

-Don’t touch them!

-There’s got to be a back door. Don’t want to step over your “Monsieur”. Why’s he standing guard like that?

-Tod, you never touch the curtains in a theatre.

-Why the hell not? Let me guess, because theatre is like life? Is that it, Fran? You don’t turn your back on anybody, and you don’t touch his curtains? You’re pathetic, Fran!

-Sit down, Tod.

-I don’t like that tone, Fran.

-What tone?

-That sweet little voice of yours! I hate it when you get all nice. I know what you’re thinking.

-If you don’t want to-

-Stop whispering, Fran!

-If you don’t want to be part of the spectacle, sit down and try to act-

-Act how?

-Now is not the time.

-Come on, Fran, how should I act?

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