The bed is uncomfortable enough to make her wish she were dead. She sighs, and the bleary ceiling stares at her.
“Are you awake, Ms. Wise?” A cheery voice enters the room, along with a squeak made by shoes on the linoleum floor.
As the door opens and closes, Ms. Wise catches a glimpse of colorful objects glide down the hallway, passing by her room, then hears the sound of laughter from the next room.
“You didn’t touch your breakfast today. If you’re hungry, I can bring you something.” The voice of the young caretaker echoes in her silent room.
Ms. Wise tries to respond in vain. Her voice, long gone. Her words, lost in the fog inside her head. She clears her throat and blinks.
The caretaker grabs a tissue and wipes the tears in the old lady’s permanent furrows, “I want to show you something.” She discards the used tissue, pulls out an old book from her pocket, and holds it with both hands to show Ms. Wise.
“My mom got me this when I was a teenager. I’ve read it many times since.”
Ms. Wise recognizes the cover with the author’s name etched in italic: M. Wise.