Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Willa and Rose Together

WILLA, a gently elegant woman in her late 80s, whose smile makes everyone feel like a beloved child
ROSE, a slightly confused woman in her early 90s, who looks like a Muppet with a large smile and big blue eyes. She has on a sweater with a large bluebird on it to which she bears a striking resemblance.


Looking into an elevator. A sign next to the elevator reads “Cheery Skies Retirement Community.” Inside the elevator, Willa is standing patiently behind Rose's wheelchair, her hands delicately but firmly wrapped around the push handles. Rose is sitting like an aged Buddha in her chair, eyes fixed upon the middle distance.

The elevator door slides quietly into place. The women stand quietly until the elevator opens at the third floor. Willa pushes the wheelchair out of the car.

W: Rose, where is your room?

R: It is room 307.

Willa pushes Rose towards her room.

As they move along the hall -

R: [quietly, decidedly, almost seeming to talk to herself] First the pillar, go around the pillar. Yes. Now down this way. Past Eileen's room. Yes. Now past Marie's. Yes. Here we are.

At the door of Rose's suite.

Rose smiles broadly with her lips together and wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. Tiny beads of sweat are forming at her hairline. Rose is also smiling.

Willa comes around the side of the wheelchair and opens the heavy door to Rose's suite. The corridor is silent and empty.

Willa begins to pull Rose out of her chair. Some physical confusion arises.

Willa leans forward, working at moving the foot pads of the chair up so Rose can move forward and out. Willa is also trying to hold Rose up, and keep the door open. Willa's 88 year old back shakily is bridging the distance between these activities.

R: [reassuringly, speaking slowly and steadily] Yes. I'm getting out of the chair. Yes. I'm out. I have my cane right here. You have me. I'm standing. Yes. Out of the chair!

The two women are standing, shakily, smiling at each other, holding each others hands, both breathing a little more deeply. Rose is steadying herself and Willa is catching her breath.

The journey towards the recliner begins. Willa shifts around to take Rose by the arm, and Rose presses her cane onto the floor and leans on it a little. Taking careful steps, the women navigate Rose's suite.

[The following conversation takes place in slow, measured, decided tones.]

R: Into the suite. Yes.

W: To the easy chair?

R: Yes. The easy chair, that's where we're going.

W: It's right there.

R: Yes it is. That's where we want to be!

W: A easy chair is a good place to be going to!

A few more paces and Rose is safely down in the wide blue chair. She is surrounded by the objects of sitting life, her Jumble puzzles, magnifying glass, TUMs, TV remote, hand lotion and other particulars. Willa stands back and smiles beatifically.

W: My name is Willa.

R: My name is Rose.

W: Willa and Rose. Two good, short names. Two simple names.

R: Yes.

W: That was a struggle. I didn't think I would make it!

R: It was a struggle, yes – and we made it!

W: We did!

R: I'm very comfortable now.

W: Good [still a little breathless]

R: Would you like to sit?

W: No, but thank you. I'll head back to my room now. Have a good day, Rose.

R: Oh, yes, you too, Willa, have a good day!

Willa exits.

R:Yes. It is a good day. Yes.


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