Friendship.

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It was 5:00 PM, which meant it was time for dinner. I scanned the dining room, checking seats for their respective owners. 

Where are Margaret* and Patricia*? I thought. It was odd that they weren’t in the dining room, especially because they were always some of the first residents to sit down. This duo is exactly that: a duo. They are roommates and also best friends. 

I went to their room and quietly opened the door. Each one was bundled up in bed, sleeping. 

I went over to Patricia’s bed first and softly touched her on the arm. “Hey, it’s time for dinner.” She opened her eyes immediately. “Do you mean supper?” she asked. 

Margaret rolled over in her bed. “Suppertime? I thought it was time for bed,“ she said.

Like I said, they do everything together. Undoubtably, one of them convinced the other it was bedtime, so to sleep they went. Margaret was even in her pajamas.

"I was wondering where my two favorite people were, so I had to come looking for you,” I said. 

Patricia smiled, the crows feet at her eyes bunching up. 

“I think you need to brush your hair a little,” Margaret told her.

I helped them both get out of bed and assisted Margaret with her shoes. I gently brushed Patricia’s hair and I helped Margaret put on a comfy nightgown over her pajamas. She hugged me. 

We walked out of the room and suddenly Margaret turned, holding my shoulders. The 90-year-old’s eyes grew wide.

“Are you ashamed of me?” she asked.

I was surprised. “Of course not, why would I ever be ashamed of you?” I exclaimed.

“Here I am, wearing my pajamas, going off to dinner!” she explained, motioning to her nightgown.

“That’s okay,” I said softly.

Margaret pulled me into a hug and kissed my cheek. I held her hand and helped to steady Patricia with her walker, guiding them both to the dining room. 

These are my friends.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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