January 10, 2014
“Shoot me if I ever have to come to one of these places,” I said to Morty as we were about to enter Harmony House, the local nursing home. It’s something we’ve said to each other for years—even before we were married.
“Promise you won’t park me here, Annie,” Morty would say anytime we came from visiting one of our elderly parents in a nursing home. “No matter how good their reputation or how expensive, these places smell of bodily functions and death.”
We laughed and joked about the different ways we’d do the other one in so we wouldn’t have to suffer this final humiliation. We saw the white uniformed staff pushing people in their wheelchairs to the verandas to air out and we’d say to the other, “Promise me.” That’s all one of us had to say and the other understood it. It was the same with our friends. Somewhere along the line it morphed into just, “Promise . . .” and the reply was in the vein of, “Don’t worry” or “You won’t even have to ask.”
Driving behind someone going ten miles an hour and we couldn’t see their head over the head rest it was, “Promise me.”
Morty turned to leave.
“Promise . . .”
He shrugged and shuffled his way towards the front door.
“You promised me,” She said to his back.