Mark and Menha

Sitting in the coffee shop at the hospital. Mark walks up full of false cheer.  He has sold me art supplies for 40 years, and his father before him, and now his daughter.  His wife has been here for 167 days. So he sat down exhausted and told me about it, her stroke journey, as they  say.
Mark,  get to see the psychologist on her team, I said, you are burning  out. No. I’ve got family.  How do you know what you don’t know? Huh? I was a burnt out primary caregiver for 10 years.  You’ve been for 6 months. I recognize the signs. For instance you’re talking to a guy in a wheelchair and you haven’t asked me how I’m doing.
Do you want a cookie? he asked. No thanks.
So he left and my friend from the coffee shop arrived, Menha. Now a unit clerk a couple of floors down I haven’t seen her in years. A chance encounter. Well drop by sometime I said. No I’m too tired after work to visit.
I just looked at her. Not speaking. Eventually she went away. Hopefully forever.
Words fail.

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