Chloe was tired, so very tired. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a good night’s rest. She was always sleeping with one eye open, and her ears tuned to her Dad. He had had a bad night the night before. He’d been restless and had gotten up three times. Chloe had gotten up each time he had to gently direct him back to bed.
“Grandpa, have you ever made a whistle out of a piece of grass?” Annelise asked. She jumped up to go find the perfect blade of grass.
Barney watched, enchanted, as she selected and discarded several blades. She found several possible candidates and brought them over to lay them out on the old man’s knee.
“Watch, Grandpa!” Annelise said, putting her thumbs up to her mouth. She blew on the piece of grass she’d put between her thumbs. After two or three tries, the grass made a squeaky whistle sound. Annelise giggled, and Barney smiled and clapped.
She really was a blessing, Chloe thought. She was such a cheerful and friendly child. Chloe watched as Barney followed everything that Annelise did. How was this little girl able to reach him? There were times lately when he sat in his own little world, and his own family couldn’t even seem to reach him. So far, he was no bother. He would sit quietly, lost in his own thoughts. He was only worrisome at night when he got up out of bed at random times. Chloe was beginning to think they’d have to figure something out so that he didn’t wander out of their apartment and get lost or get hurt. She’d have to ask David if they could put an extra lock on the door that they could lock with a key from the inside.
Chloe sat in awe and watched Annelise and Barney. What an amazing little girl. Here she sat with two relative strangers, pointing out shapes in the clouds and chattering away as happy as can be.
Her Dad was also quite taken with her. He was hanging on her every word. Chloe hadn’t seen him look this content in ages.
What a gift this child was. She was really too little to be wandering around on her own and bringing ice cream to little old men sitting in the park. Chloe really needed to speak to Annelise’s mother.
“Where did you say your Mother was, honey?” she asked when Annelise paused to take a breath.
“She’s in our apartment watching my little brother,” Annelise said, pointing to the brick building to their right. “He’s just a baby.”
“Does she know you are out here?” Chloe asked her.
“Oh, yes, she told me to go get some fresh air. Look. There she is now. Hi, Mommy!” She waved at a younger woman who hurried over to join them. “Mommy, Mommy, look this is Grandpa! And this is Grandpa’s daughter!”
The young woman smiled, “Hello. Is Annelise bothering you?”
“Oh, no, not at all,” Chloe said, “She’s been entertaining my Dad. He likes to sit in the park.”
“He has Alz-meyers,” Annelise said.
“Alzheimer’s,” Chloe said, “He gets a little confused sometimes lately, and he doesn’t speak much. He likes to sit and watch the birds.”
“I sit with him because he’s lonely,” Annelise said.
“Well, you need to come inside now,” her Mom said, “I just put your brother down for his nap. Why don’t you come help me fold up the towels?”
“Okay. Bye, Grandpa!” She quickly hugged Barney and walked off with her Mom.
Barney waved goodbye.
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