There’s no easy way to tell you this. I’ve been trying to time it just right, but Gertrude fell and broke her hip last night. She won’t be back for a few months at least.” Caroline winced.

I coughed and a glob of eggs that tasted just like the ones Gertie prepared became lodged in my windpipe. When Caroline leaned to hand me my glass of water, I slapped it from her hand in a blind rage.

The glass connected with the marble and shattered spraying small diamonds of heavy lead crystal all over the floor.

Color drained from Caroline’s face as the rims of her eyes filled with tears.

Somehow, I didn’t get the feeling she was as experienced as she let on. Home health care aids were accustomed to outbursts, but she appeared genuinely fearful.


I don’t want you here, and if the company you work for can’t send me someone older…and more experienced…you can tell them not to send anyone at all.” I fumbled to unlock the wheelchair, turned, and clumsily wheeled myself through the crunchy glass to my room. Breathless when I reached the two steps up to my room, I realized I wasn’t strong enough to make it up them without Caroline.

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