The two women glared at each other even as they scooped ice cream into their mouths. In creamy spittle, they cast shade. “What an asshole,” declared Mabel. “You saw that that was my chair,” she complained bitterly into the crowded space, hoping someone would corroborate her claim. But finding such a soul was even more unlikely than finding an available man at such a facility.
I can’t certify that Helen knew that Mabel had only temporarily relinquished the chair. I only knew that when Mabel returned with her frozen treat and saw Helen in “her” chair, she appeared to want to slap the Cheshire cat grin off Helen’s face. It was my first time visiting the home but it was clear to me that these women had tangoed with each other before.
“You were nowhere near it when I sat down,” Helen said in a singsong way before raising one eyebrow and fishing her tongue into her chocolate-covered ice cream sundae.
Mabel set her ice cream on a nearby table then inched closer to Helen. The tension between these octogenarians was palpable like the precursor to a barfight. I prepared to duck in the event of flying objects. Mabel leaned over her walker and grabbed the chair’s armrest. “My chair, dammit!” Her voice shook as she jostled the chair with all she had, which admittedly wasn’t much. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.