Sitting with her, or him, it happens too often.
I ask a question, and I get a look. That look. The look of the unknown. The look that tells me, wordlessly, they don’t know the answer.
The answer to how old are you?
The answer to how many children do you have?
The answer to where did you retire from?
The answer to something about you that you know more assuredly than anyone else?
Often times the look is quickly masked and an answer of some kind is given. I don’t pay attention to that stuff. Or those things don’t matter any more. Or I’ve got kids.
Or the shrug and the I don’t know.
But it doesn’t erase that look. That look that reflects their inner thoughts:
Oh my God! I don’t know!
I am not stupid!
You are not taking me out of my home!
I am terrified of you!
I am horrified I am losing myself!
I hate that look. I hate that moment. I hate that they feel exposed. I hate that there is such horror.
I see those eyes. Those eyes that saw them through childhood, and youth, and saw them into becoming who they are. And now, those eyes show me, what they can’t see any more.
I’ve watched as he, or she, recognizes for a moment-again-that they are losing. They are losing themselves.
I’ve watched, as one look, outlines a fear unknown to me.
And a fear I hope to never know.
I don’t ever want to look at my child, my friend, my husband-and give them that look.