I leave my pick-up outside the front door of Sugarloaf Manor. The smell of antiseptic, urine, aged bodies and their effluents assaults me as I enter the front rotunda. The place looks like a four-star hotel. The decor is generic, but attractive. Reproduction antiques, reprints of Matisse’s and Monet’s works hang in neat rows going down the hall. There is a l large bulletin board with the names and faces of residents displayed in a colorful collage. The smell of cauliflower, heavy and cloying wafts from the dining hall. It appears that most of the residents have gathered for their evening meal. I eye the two rooms filled with senior citizens. Most are women; many are in wheelchairs and powerchairs. There is a sea of white heads when I look at the table rounds of diners. I look for the Lucille Ball red that Mrs. Dickinson uses to dye her hair. Find that head, and I will find her. I do not find her. When I walk down the hall to her room, I see she is seated, outside of her bedroom door. An aide has cleared her tray. Her head bobs slightly, her left leg appears to have a tremor.
“You, you there, would you take me to the bathroom?”
I am here because of an anonymous letter I found when I opened my bedroom door. Someone had violated my privacy, entered my home, and left me an anonymous letter claiming that Mrs. Dickinson had information for me. I left the message untouched, on the floor, where it lay when I found it.
I approach her cautiously, “HI, Mrs. Dickinson. I’m Carl, do you remember me from Whately Prep? Julia and i were good friends?” Mrs. Dickinson turns to face me. Nothing like recognition shows on her face. Then, suddenly, her face is transformed and it is glowing like a light filled vessel. I follow her gaze to the room across the corridor. I see a woman’s shapely legs, her face obscured by a bouquet of flowers. She lowers the flowers to Mrs. Dickinson’s rolling table. It isn’t until she does so that I realize that it is Julia.