We were ushered in to have the admission consultation with the doctor. There were three chairs facing his desk and as Mort hobbled in and took the closest, I started to walk to the chair the furthest away, but Anne-Louise guided my elbow to the middle chair.
The doctor appeared unperturbed by the fetid state of Mort, attempting to balance his crutches against the chair; the concerned friend perched on the edge of the seat with clasped hands; and the wife, clenched and folded into herself in complete silence, except the harsh, gnashing, grinding of her teeth. Given where we were, it was undoubtedly a tableau the doctor would have seen a thousand times over.
The discussion/interview/probe went something along the lines of Anne-Louise giving the background narrative of her and Doc’s relationship with Mort and me for 9 years, my detailed run-down of various events leading us to where we were and Mort sitting there saying “I don’t know” or a dismissive shrug to every question that was asked of him as to ‘why’.
Here we were in this bubble all about Mort, his full moment in the spotlight, a professional mediator, a long-time friend offering support, his chance to dig deep for introspective ownership and responsibility and all he could come up with was “I don’t know” over and over.
It was at this point that I found myself sitting there thinking about what I was going to cook the girls for dinner. In the midst of all this shit, it was a very clear moment of the grander scheme of things. Ingredients must be purchased, dinner must be cooked and happy upbeat conversation must be had.
After a moment of silence with the doctor scribbling some notes and the three of us all avoiding eye contact I was asked if I had any last comments. “Yep, I’m making Chicken Tetrazzini, with extra parmesan….they love it.”