Saturday, February 21, 2009 / Comments (0) / by elizabeth

she likes attention. she wants everyone to know she has arrived and causes a commotion as the door to the nail salon swings wide open.

she rolls in slowly with the help of her assistant. she's wearing fur, of course, and tons of jewelry. her face is streaked with too-bright makeup: heavy blush (though she might call it 'rouge'), eyebrows drawn on, lipstick over-lining her lips and dripping into the deep-set wrinkles around her mouth.

she has just had her hair done, and it resembles a style from the 40's. she loves the lavender tulips in a jar by the counter and comments on them more than once.

she is 96 years old. she loves fashion. she is a former model - "i used to be tall!" she says. she's been watching fashion week on television, remembering the old days before "fashion died."

she is beautiful.

i watch in fascination as you engage her in conversation without hesitation. you ask her questions and really listen to her answers. you make eye contact. you treat her gently, like a friend, like someone you truly want to know.

you tell her you love her hair. you respond to her declaration that she used to model with a genuine, "i can tell!" you agree with her that the tulips are an exquisite shade of lavender.

you have 'love' tattooed on the inside of your wrist as if you need a reminder. in this moment, you don't care what is easy for you, you only care about her comfort. You aren't concerned with your own agenda, or your own time - instead, you are attentive to her needs.

you are beautiful.