“Dobre popowoodnew!” as she crawls from the living room after her long nap. I say good afternoon in Polish slowly, and spell it (incorrectly) even slower. She doesn’t reply but keeps making slow progress towards the bathroom.
“How are ya feeling?” I ask as cheerfully as possible but I already sense, and brace myself. She stops and looks up at me.
“You know, I think I’m making up for my husband.”
We know how this goes, don’t we?
Saturday, February 10th, 1940
Tonight Jakey and I stayed at home. I put on my slacks and we had fun writhing and fooling around. Our clothes had been freshly put on but were a mess after we got through.
“He was so smart, and good. He was a big shot, not me!”
Monday, February 12th, 1940
I didn’t go to choir rehearsal but washed my hair instead and took a bath. I was about 10 o’clock when Jakey dropped in. He had been working at the office and dropped in when he saw the light on in the living room.
I know she is about to get stuck in this rut, I know the delusion that has surfaced in her mind and I do know how to get it resubmerged.
Sunday, February 18th, 1940
Spent the rest of the evening in the parlor. Peaches says I have nice legs and someday he’s going to own 50%.
“I don’t know who gave them to him, but he started taking those…pills!” Here surfaces the imaginary family skeleton. I need to shove it back in the demented closet quickly.
Thursday, February 22nd, 1940
Jakey was so nice. He brought me home and we sat in the back hall for a long time. He always asks me how he can get closer to me. Said he was taking me home with him. I said my bed was softer than his and he said he could sleep on a board with me. It was hard to part we were so contented.
It’s not a great time to get Stella, although the pup usually brings Babu right out of her bad thoughts. Right now I got a 100 year old woman who probably needs to use the bathroom standing in the middle of the kitchen holding on to her walker, stuck in a nightmare she saves when she is asleep for when she is awake.
“He gave me…two…and I took one! But I didn’t like it. I gave the other one back to him, although I probably should not have.”
Saturday, February 24th, 1940
Jakey and I stayed in till nine doing nothing. Then we went for a walk in the falling snow.
“Babu, do you need to use the bathroom? You probably should go.” I ask her clumsily. I feel callous. She nods and heads for the bathroom and I wonder if the whole time she is in there she is thinking about him. She reemerges and sits at the table and it seems the switch has totally flipped. She is back to herself again. Even though she is not telling me, I’m sure she is still thinking about Jakey right now.
Sunday, February 25th, 1940
We stayed up late as usual and Jakey was so loverlike tonight. He told me he loved me and me and me. I hope we’ll love each other forever.
Post Script: I did not want to interrupt the flow of the piece but here are some pervious passages about this same topic of Babu’s delusion around Jake’s death. You can read them if you need or want to be filled in more about this issue.