“Hey Mom! There’s Stella,” Cricket said as she and Annie rounded the corner into The Home’s drawing room.
Stella sat in a big red armchair in the far corner. She looked up from the sock she was knitting.
“There you are,” Stella said smiling. “I was just about to leave because I don’t like to sit here all alone.”
“Well, you’re not alone anymore,” Cricket said. “Mom and I are here. Will you stay and chat with us for awhile?”
“Of course,” Stella’s reply was immediate. “I’ve missed you the last few days.”
Sometimes their timings didn’t match up, or one of Stella’s children took her on an outing.
Cricket rolled Annie as close as she could to Stella’s chair and stopped.
“Look Mom,” she said. “Here’s Stella.”
“Who’s Stella?” Annie stared into a space about three feet to Stella’s left and four feet behind her.
Stella, who was in her late nineties and still had all her faculties, set her knitting in her lap, reached out with her right hand and placed it gently on Annie’s knee.
“Hi Annie, it’s me Stella. I’m glad to see you. I’ve missed you.”
“Hello Stella,” Annie said. “Oh you’re a good girl.” She swivelled her head and eyes until they zeroed in on Stella, and then tapped the gnarled hand on her knee and smiled.
If Cricket had believed in God, she would have offered up a prayer of thanks. Instead, she just let gratitude flood through her for Stella, this place and the host of angels who staffed it.
Annie was recovering beautifully from a string of disasters in other facilities; after only six months in this new place she was like a different person. Cricket wished she had found The Home earlier. She would have spared her mom the suffering she’d been through the previous two years.
But better late than never.
Better late than never was her consolation.
This is the third instalment in a fictional series about Cricket & Annie; more here.
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