Only the Shadow knows
Originally uploaded by Lynn Park

Anita quit yesterday. She’d gotten an offer for double my hours and really needs the extra money.

“I’ll stay with you till you get someone else.”

“No. Just finish the week –and maybe you could do laundry and change the bed, and do grocery shopping, once a week till I get someone.” This is fair, I think, and doesn’t saddle me with someone who’s already out the door, someone from whom I’ve already in just these few moments begun the process of disengagement.

She agrees. Oh, yes. Gladly.

Today was all right. Wednesday. One down, two to go. I hadn’t been devastated yesterday. After all, it was only the seventh time she’d been here. And while things were generally going well, I had reservations.

She’s a complainer about things in her personal life; I don’t think she knows how much. And a sigher. I can’t stand her deep lugubrious sighs. And she likes me so much.

Who knows? Perhaps the new person will be neither a sometime curmudgeon nor a complainer. While I can get lonely, very lonely, a part of me likes the prospect of being on my own in my own space again for a while. Things aren’t too bad.

Then, this afternoon, I go out for a few minutes and come back to a message on the answering machine: “It’s Anita. The woman I was going to work for wants to give some of my hours to a caregiver who used to work for her. Is your job still open? Call me.”

Nothing in me rises in delight, breathes deep, sighs with relief. OH SHIT. How do I say I don’t think I want her when I haven’t made a single criticism of her work?

“It was so hard to give notice because you’ve been so sweet to me.”

Only the Shadow knows.

Note: The photograph “Only the Shadow knows” appears in my photostream at