Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Day I Met the Real Garfield

I don't know what Judy's diagnosis was, but she was certainly living in a different world than me. She would often have long conversations with herself, or wander up and down the hallway staring blankly forward.

Every now and then she would talk to people. I was sitting in the eating area, trying to learn a card trick, when she plunked down beside me.

"I have a cat."

"That's great, Judy. What's your cat's name?"

"He's Garfield."

"Oh...did you name him after the Garfield cartoon?"

Judy jumped up, glaring at me. "He IS the real Garfield! He talks to me and he likes lasagna and he hates Mondays!" she yelled. Then she walked out.

A few days later, Judy's mom came to visit. She was sporting an extra large coat with fur lining, carrying a huge purse, and wearing high heels even though it was February and there was snow on the ground. She was nattering at the nurses, and sounded like she should be a patient (or had been at some point). She was gently being ushered down the hall to the eating area where Judy was.

About fifteen minutes later I was walking past the eating area (getting my pacing exercise in) and Judy called to me. I walked in. Sitting in her mother's purse was a beautiful, long-haired cat.

"This is Garfield," whispered Judy. "Don't tell the nurses my mom brought him, 'kay?"

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Garfield," I said quietly.

"He says hi back," Judy replied. "I told him that you like his cartoons, and that you like lasagna, too."

I sat with them for a minute, petting the real Garfield and talking with him.

Now whenever I see a Garfield comic, I realize that, in the mind of at least one person in the world, I have had the rare priviledge of meeting him in person.

It makes me feel kind of special.

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