A bar of soap isn’t just a bar of soap.
For example, there’s Yardley English Lavender–Mom’s favorite.
Last week she said, “I meant to tell you to get me more soap.”
I went into her bathroom and saw three bars of soap–not whole, maybe two-thirds used–but nevertheless, Yardley English Lavender.
“Mom, you have soap,” I said from the bathroom.
“Yes, want to see?” I said.
“Okay,” she said, wheeling into the bathroom. She turned on the faucet and started to wash her face and hands.
“Smell it,” I said, handing her the bar. She sniffed it.
“Okay, thank goodness. Yes, that’s it.”
Her aide Christina* came in the room later and said, “I wanted to ask you to bring your mom more soap.”
“But she has three bars in the bathroom,” I said.
“Yes, but she tells me, ‘That’s not soap.’ She likes the big bars,” she said.
“Okay, I’ll bring some next time.”
Christina nodded and smiled.
Before I left, I said to Mom, “Remember, you have soap. There are three bars in the bathroom.”
“Okay,” she said.
I had a feeling this was not the end of the Soap Saga, so I went to CVS and bought three “real” bars of Yardley English Lavender.
Last night after work I stopped by to visit Mom.
I saw the night nurse Jared* on my way to her room and said, “I’m bringing her some soap.”
“Ah, the English soap,” he said, smiling.
“Yes, she loves it.”
It was 7:30, and Mom was already in bed.
“Do you want to watch some TV?” I asked.
“No, I’m sleepy,” she said.
“I’ll put your soap right her next to you, okay?” I placed the bars of soap on the rolling table next to her bed.
“Yes, that’ll be fine. You didn’t have to come today to bring it.”
“No, I wanted to. I didn’t want you to have to wait.”
“Thank you, dear.”
I kissed her on the forehead and said, “good night.”
“Good night, dear.”
I told Jared, “She was very sleepy, so I put the soap by her bed.”
He said, “You didn’t have to come all this way to just to bring her soap. I could have picked some up at Walgreens.”
“It’s okay,” I said.
Sometimes soap isn’t just soap.
*Pseudonyms used for staff members at Actor’s Home.