The eye of the beholder

Dorothy has a scowl on her face. Looking something like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, she taps her fingers. She and the other residents are seated in a circle in the nursing home’s activity room, waiting for the students to arrive. The quiet is peppered with a few random comments and short-lived conversations. Occasionally Dorothy bursts out with a pronouncement that has no apparent relevance to what is taking place around her, and then goes back to tapping her fingers. “Are you playing the piano?” someone asks her. “No,” she says, “just listening to the tunes.”

As the Memory Bridge students come into the room, she eyes them suspiciously. Her student-buddy, Chyei, sits down and says hello, and Dorothy comes to life. “I like your hair!” she barks. She turns to the woman next to her. “Doesn’t that hair style look good on her?” she demands.

She fingers the front of Chyei’s hooded sweatshirt curiously. “That’s my school logo,” the girl explains.

“What?” Dorothy snaps.

“My school’s logo. The mascot.”

“The what? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dorothy says, giving Chyei an accusing look.

The activity director walks by wearing a lavender sweater with a deep purple skirt, diverting Dorothy’s attention. “Aren’t those colors pretty together?” Dorothy says. “And isn’t that beautiful?” she says of another student-buddy’s magenta sweater.

She returns her attention to Chyei and goes back to fingering the front of her hoodie.

“It’s the mascot for my school’s sports teams. The Mustangs,” Chyei explains.

“The what?” Dorothy says with disdain.

“The Mustangs. My school’s team.”

Soon it is time for Dorothy and the other residents to go back to their rooms. “Aren’t you coming?” she snaps at Chyei. “I couldn’t keep this up for long, you know.”

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