Some Things Don’t Change.

He decided to approach her while she was drinking her afternoon tea.

“Hello. My name is George,” he said, extending his hand.

After placing the teacup back onto the table, she did the same. He took her hand and held her thin fingers.

“Jane,” she said.

“Jane,” he said, “you’re the most beautiful woman here.”

She smiled at him. Her dentures were whiter than the porcelain that held her tea. She withdrew her hand and picked up the teacup again.

“I moved here about a month ago. I’ve been wondering who you are,” George said, gently settling into a chair nearby. He leaned his cane against the table.

“I noticed when you arrived,” Jane said, wiping a small smudge of lipstick from the teacup. He was one of the better dressed men there. Today, he was wearing navy blue slacks, black loafers, a cream colored dress shirt, and a tan-colored sweater vest. His thinning gray hair was brushed away from his face. His left eye was cloudy and grey. His right eye was a faded shade of blue.

“That’s wonderful,” he said, grinning. “How long have you lived here?”

“About five years,” Jane said.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?”

“I fell and I broke my hip,” she said, slowly swiveling the wheelchair around to face him.

“That’s unfortunate, though that clearly has not affected how you move yourself… or other people.”

“You’re charming,” she said, smiling coyly at him. “And you? What has brought you to the Hillcrest Nursing Home?”

“About six months ago, I had a stroke,” he murmured. After a pause, he said, “I can’t move around quite like I used to.”

“Oh,” she said. “That’s too bad.”

She resumed drinking her tea. He watched her.

“How have you been spending your time since you’ve been here?” she eventually asked. “Does anyone come to visit you?

“I have a son, but he lives far away.” George looked steadily at her. “I’d like to spend more of my time getting to know you.”

Jane smiled and adjusted the red bow that was tied to the armrest of her wheelchair. “George, this is a nice place. How do you pay for the rent here?”

George looked at her quizzically before replying, “Medicaid. Why do you ask?”

Jane frowned. “Just wondering,” she murmured. She turned her wheelchair back to the table and took another sip of her tea. She didn’t lift her eyes from the cup afterwards.

George cleared his throat, wondering what had just happened. After taking a deep breath, he said, “Jane, perhaps we could meet for dessert after dinner tonight? I could bring a pastry to your room.”

Jane pushed the teacup towards the center of the table. Before wheeling herself away, she said, “George, no money, no honey.”